J.J. Watt grants first interview after injury to disabled Houston teen

Maanav Gupta from Houston interviewed J.J. Watt before anybody else.
Maanav Gupta from Houston interviewed J.J. Watt before anybody else.(AZ Family)
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 8:31 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5 ) - Everyone has anxiously been waiting to hear from Arizona Cardinals star J.J. Watt since he was injured. So many are wondering how he’s doing and when he may be back on the field. And now we know after he granted an interview to 18-year-old Maanav Gupta from Houston before anybody else.

This teen isn’t letting anything stop him. He has a physical disability and thought maybe he wouldn’t achieve his dreams of being a sportscaster one day. But he took his talents and turned them into his own sports show online, and now he just scored an exclusive interview with one of the nation’s most beloved athletes.

Gupta wasn’t expecting this to happen Christmas week. “J.J Watt! He just replied! Like oh my God!” Gupta said. Gupta lives in Houston and has a condition called Duchenne muscular dystrophy, making his muscles much weaker than most. “I can’t climb stairs or I can’t run, but I am walking so I’m thankful to have that ability right now,” Gupta said.

He absolutely loves sports, so he started a sports blog that then turned into his own sports show on YouTube, something he could do from his own room. “Why not try and reach out on Twitter to some of my favorite athletes that I love watching play,” he said.

“I just reached out to J.J. on Twitter one day because I’ve been doing interviews with players and J.J. Watt has been a guy that it’s been a dream of mine to have him on because of what he’s meant to me,” said Gupta.

And as soon as Gupta started talking to the football legend about his injury, Watt told him something special. “So I’m sure you’re on the right track, right?” Gupta asked Watt in his interview. “You’re actually my first interview since I got injured so you’re lucky! You’re a good journalist because you got in before everybody else,” Watt told him.

It was something that meant the world to Gupta. “I told it to him himself, I’ve never really seen an athlete with such a big heart, you know, that giving spirit. It’s around Christmas time but I’ve never seen an athlete with that much kindness and sportsmanship,” Gupta said.

He made sure to ask Watt about the change to Arizona, too. “You’re being in Arizona, you’re in the Scottsdale area, you like the weather over there? It’s dry heat. I’m sure you like it better than Houston, right?” Gupta asked Watt. “It’s incredible. I’m not gonna lie. I obviously love Houston, and I’ll always love Houston forever, but the one thing I’m not going to miss is the humidity, that’s for sure,” Watt said.

Watt has inspired so many people over the years. Gupta hopes he can do the same to anybody who has hurdles to overcome, too. “If you have a disability or have something going on, that’s not the end of your story. You can make your own story,” Gupta said.

During that interview, Watt told Gupta he is working on stuff every day to safely get back to playing soon. Gupta said he’s now a big Cardinals fan because not only did Watt come to Arizona from the Houston Texans, but so did Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who he also loves. Like Watt, Hopkins is also dealing with an injury, tearing his MCL in Week 14. You can hear more from Gupta on the Extra Point podcast.

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