18-year-old YouTuber scores first interview with J.J. Watt since injury

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Posted at 9:44 PM, Dec 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 23:44:16-05

PHOENIX — Arizona Cardinals J.J. Watt has been working to come back from an injury that could have sidelined him for the year.

The 11-year veteran dislocated his shoulder tearing his labrum, bicep and rotator cuff against his former team, the Houston Texans earlier this NFL season.

Watt hasn’t said much about his recovery until this week when he granted the first interview to an 18-year-old YouTuber who has been making a name for himself as a sportscaster.

A week after Watt’s injury, Maanav Gupta, 18, took to Twitter to ask for the interview everyone in the Arizona sports world wanted.

“I’m a super huge fan, you’re my favorite defensive player of all time and I’d love the chance to interview you on my sport talk YouTube channel,” said Maanav from his sports desk at his Houston home.

Since 2019, Maanav has already landed Astros second baseman Jose Altuve who told him, “good question” when he asked how he prepares for MLB’s postseason.

He got a one-on-one with Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon where they talked mindset on guarding Steph Curry.

Maanav’s first big interview was Rich Eisen of NFL Network where Eisen shared that Maanav’s Texans could be struggling for much of the season.

Weeks went by as Maanav’s request got further buried in Watt’s Twitter mentions. The persistent sports journalist quote tweeted his request for Watt for another shot at talking to NFL veteran and philanthropist.

Adversity is no stranger for Maanav.

He lives with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. A rare genetic disease that damages muscles and can prevent some physical motion.

“I can’t climb stairs, I can’t run but I’m still walking right now. I’m happy to have that right now at the moment,” he said.

Last week, Watt replied to Maanav’s Tweet and scheduled his first interview since his October injury.

One of his first questions for Watt was about his shoulder adding, “I hope it’s doing a lot better.”

Watt replied saying in part, “I’m doing a lot of stuff to push it as hard as I can to smartly and safely get back as fast as I can.”

Watt told Maanav his 4-6 month return plan wasn’t something he’d accept telling Maanav in part, “how fast can we really do this thing? How tight can you screw those screws down? I’ll rehab as hard as I can, I’ll work as hard as I can.”

Those quotes made national headlines including and the Arizona Cardinals sharing the news.

“J.J. Watt, everything he says becomes such a major news story. It was definitely a big story. It means a lot for my channel,” said Maanav.

Watt’s motto is dream big work hard – which you don’t have to tell that to Maanav.

“To become a live play-by-play announcer on a major network, that’s really the goal for me,” said Maanav.