Offensive Lineman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Man of the Year for two consecutive years, Pro Bowl offensive guard Davin Joseph has made quite an impact on the Tampa Bay area since he joined the Bucs in the 2006. In addition to starting the Davin Joseph Events for Cause Foundation, also referred to as Davin’s Dream Team, Joseph has become one of the biggest champions for the United Way. By recruiting nearly 4,000 volunteers through the NFL’s Live United campaign, he has helped mentor and educate young people on the importance of getting a good education. The New Tampa resident spent much of the last year rehabbing his knee for the 2013 season and spending time with his children, Ali and Elie, and recently got back from a trip on the USO Tour in Afghanistan.
How did you become involved with the United Way?
It really started with the Bucs when I was a rookie. I started volunteering and putting together some different events and giveaways. Our first event was Turkey Time with the O-line in 2007. From there, it just kind of took off. Whether it’s giving away books to young kids or giving away meals to local needy families, we’ve really built a great relationship.
What is one of your favorite memories when working with your charity?
My favorite event is definitely the Turkey Time with the O-line because you really have so many volunteers here and with the United Way that get involved so it’s really turning into an event where we’re able to feed hundreds of families. The way it’s formed is the offensive lineman put money into a pot and all these guys chip in to raise enough funds to buy Thanksgiving meals for needy families in Tampa. We’ve raised more than $10,000 each year to purchase these meals through Publix, who then bag the food up for us. We then turn One Buc Place into basically a long, two-way drive thru meal giveaway during the two days before Thanksgiving. We give out tickets, T-shirts, sign autographed balls, the cheerleaders are out there with us and we basically do a meet and greet with every family that comes through. It’s something the entire organization looks forward to all year.
What is one of your favorite charity events in Tampa Bay and why?
Outside of my network, there’s an organization that I’m really impressed with called Starting Right, Now. I went to a gala of theirs last year and they’re about finding homes for homeless kids and setting them up to graduate high school and get into college. That’s an organization I’ve really been impressed with that I’ve donated to out of my own pocket because I really believe that they’re something that the Tampa Bay community needs.
As a leading man, what is one of your proudest accomplishments?
I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish but I’m humbled. I still want more for my community and my team. I’m going to just keep on working hard because I don’t want to get stagnant with giving back or with getting better to be a better player.
Where’s the best meal in Tampa Bay?
One Buc Place is where I easily eat six times a week during the off-season and 12 times a week during the season. It’s good because Chef Mike always caters to the players. Whether or not his menu is what you want to eat, he’ll always make something happen for you no matter what day it is. He has a great relationship with all the players here. He always makes sure we have everything we need and he takes criticism very well for a chef. He always goes out of his way to make you happy and you can tell he loves being here.
What’s one food you won’t eat?
I’ve never been wild about the bison burgers. I’m a fast food hamburger guy and it just doesn’t taste very good when it comes to burgers. You can’t fake the funk with a burger, you know what I mean?
Who do you most admire in Tampa Bay?
Vincent Jackson; since he’s come here to Tampa Bay, he’s really tried to get involved with the community and make his existence here not about himself. You’ve got to admire a guy who has already had a great career so far and really looking like he’s on the upswing of his career and he’s still trying to give back to his teammates and his community. He’s a truly on the field and off the field guy and I respect that.
How do you like to unwind?
Usually it’s fishing. I haven’t been able to get into it much lately and right now is the peak time. I’ve just got to start clearing the schedule out to get a little fishing. I like to get in the backyard during the evenings and catch some bass. Simple ol’ fashioned backyard bass fishing is how I like to unwind. It’s something I can do with my son, mom and relatives and it’s really just been a good way to relax, except for when you miss the big one.
What are you currently reading?
I just got done reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” It’s the first book I’ve read in about two years, outside of the playbook. I downloaded it onto my iPad for the long flight over to Afghanistan for the USO Tour and it was really a great book.
Outside of charity work, what inspires you?
Trying to be a great dad. I grew up with outstanding parents. My mom and dad really challenged my brother and sister and I to become great people, to become leaders and to give back to the community in more ways than one. Of course, I now have the challenge of being a dad and it’s really fun. Everyday is a challenge and you try to win more than you lose but the overall goal is to have them be successful in whatever that want to be in and encourage them to strive for excellence.
Which Bay-area spots do you take your out-of-town guests to really show off our city?
You’ve always got to make sure you hit both beaches in St. Pete and Clearwater. Between the beaches and South Tampa, that’s pretty much where I’m going to take the guys when they come in town.
What does your dream vacation look like?
I want to go to Cape Town, South Africa and be a tourist. That has been on my list for a long time but that’s not a three-day trip, that’s a week to 10-day trip. Trying to get that many days off is tough so I don’t know when it’s going to happen but it’s on my bucket list.
What advice would you pass on to younger generations?
With influence being so high these days, you’ve really got to pick and choose your friends. That’s one thing I’ve always been blessed with, great friends who have always been a great influence to me in a positive way. They’ve always helped me through tough times, even through tough decisions. They have always been consistent friends, regardless if I wanted to hear their response or didn’t. Just choose your friends wisely and don’t be subject to the mainstream influences. And always aim high and shoot for the stars, no matter what you want to be, and be the best that you can be.
What’s one thing most people wouldn’t know about you?
I’m a TV series guy. My favorites are Homeland, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Scandal, Law and Order SVU. I keep up with all of my shows. A lot of people wouldn’t know I watch that much TV but late nights after my son goes to bed, that’s my time to watch a little TV.
If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?
I’d just want to experience flying.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I didn’t want to be a football player; I wanted to be a firefighter. I had no desire to be a football player until high school. I always thought it was cool to see them driving those trucks and the principle of saving lives was always intriguing stuff.
What was your favorite childhood television show?
The X-Men series. Gambit and Wolverine were my favorite characters. Me and my brother would watch that every single Saturday and we’d tape the episodes so we could watch them again.
Favorite album of all time: Erykah Badu Baduizm and The Best of Sade.
If a movie were made about your life, whom would you want to play you?
Even though he doesn’t look anything like me, I’d say Denzel Washington because it’s a guaranteed hit. You don’t want a movie made about your life starring a guy who can’t sell movies so of course, Denzel.
Do you have a motto or words of wisdom that you live by?
If you’re going to do something, do it right.