Denzel Washington's son has grown up to be gorgeous

A-list actor Denzel Washington turns 62 in 2016, which is something you probably haven't thought much about considering it appears he hasn't aged since 1984. But his son, John David Washington, has matured into a commanding actor in his own right. The younger Washington turned 32 in 2016, so if you're just coming to know him, there's never been a better time to learn more about this rising star.

College football

John David's football bona fides began when he was a young man, graduating from high school as an All-American standout and earning a scholarship to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., where he played until graduation in 2006. He has spoken fondly about the sport, saying he developed a passion for it as his own form of rebellion against his more artistically-minded parents. "It was my independent card," he confided to the The Breakfast Club in a 2016 radio interview. "I earned my own scholarship…I'm very proud of that. [My parents] didn't pay for my schooling…I took it very seriously because it was all I had."

Pro football in the States and abroad

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006, John David spent some time in the orbit of the St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams, though he never saw much in the way of playing time. His two seasons in the NFL were spent on the team's practice squad. In a 2016 interview with The Breakfast Club, he recalled his first carry in the league versus the Indianpolis Colts. He said he rushed for nine yards, describing it as a memorable moment that was, unfortunately, not followed by much more action. He eventually moved to Germany to play running back for NFL Europa's Rhein Fire team.

The UFL years

John David returned to the States in 2009 to the now-defunct United Football League's California Redwoods team, where he remained for four seasons until the league closed and ended his sports career. John David says he's blessed for the experience. "It was my quest to make it," he told The Breakfast Club. "And I made it as far as I could." He also said he wouldn't let his own child play the game. It's reportedly not the physical aspects of football that give him pause. "The business will break your heart," he said during his radio interview. "The NFL stands for 'Not For Long.'"

Balling on HBO

In what is easily his most high-profile gig to date, John David stars as a football pro opposite Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, who plays his ex-athlete agent, on HBO's inside-baseball sports dramedy Ballers (2015-). John David hopes his role can shine a light on some of the dramatic aspects of athletes' lives that don't get as much attention in the press. Though his costar garnered most of the pre-release hype for the show, it's John David who people can't stop talking about. The attention is well-earned-—rather than having strings pulled on his behalf by friends in the industry, John David auditioned for his role

Though the Rock garnered most of the pre-release hype for the show, it's John David who people can't stop talking about lately. The attention is well-earned. Rather than having strings pulled on his behalf by friends in the industry, John David auditioned for his role 11 times, reported Men's Journal, only telling his dad about it after he knew he had the part. And whatever you do, don't call him the star of the show—he's too humble for that. "It's an ensemble cast," he demurred to The Breakfast Club. "The Rock is on the show."

Low-key roles

Encouraged by acclaimed director Spike Lee, John David made his film debut at 9 years old in 1992's Malcolm X, an epic film in which his father played the lead and earned an Oscar nomination for best actor. John David was one of the children in the powerful "I am Malcolm X" final sequence. He told The Breakfast Club his scene took seven takes (and he was not paid for his work.)

Coco with RZA

As an actor, John David's career is just starting to gain traction, and we expect bigger roles to come. One such performance, filmed but yet to be seen, is in the highly anticipated musical drama Coco, directed by RZA. The project stars Azealia Banks as an aspiring hip-hop artist. John David said the movie is influenced by the art and culture of rap. "It's really about the language," he told The Breakfast Club, adding that he plays "a jerk" in the film. "I'm really looking forward to this underground, kind of hip-hop, Eight Mile female version of the story," he said.

The Book of Eli

In 2010, John David served as a producer for a movie starring his father, The Book of Eli, but since then, he's been putting more distance between his dad's professional profile and his own. It's nothing personal, the younger Washington says. The independence he once sought in football has never been about slighting his dad, but about making space for himself. "I used to lie about what my dad's occupation was," he told talk show host Steve Harvey."I'd say he was a construction worker, or he's doing time right now, or pick the characters he did in movies and just go with it."

Family values

Though he doesn't like to attach himself to their reputations, John David speaks highly of his parents, particularly his mother, Pauletta Washington. He told The Breakfast Club she was a Julliard-trained musician and actress who chose to sideline her own career to raise John David and his three siblings. "She, in a lot of ways, in her own right, was more talented," he said, but she wanted to be a "hands-on" mother. He was also quick to point out that she initially earned more money than his famous father and supported their family while Denzel made his first steps into acting. "On their first date, she paid for the date," he quipped. It's not like John David favors her; he just likes to raise her name up, since his father's reputation is already sky high.

Just look at him

The more you read about him, the more crystal clear it becomes that John David is a principled man trying his best to carve out a space in life with his own talents, outside of his parents' shadows. With that said, it seems cheap to give him props for something that he can't control, but we can't help but mention that the dude's a looker. The internet went berserk in 2015 when John David appeared at the Golden Globes and stole the show on the red carpet. People magazine devoted an entire article to the web's reaction to his aesthetics. "Look at what God did," posted one Instagram fan. He's good at acting, too, and surely his talents are what he'd rather be known for, but hey, there are worse things to be called than "Denzel's hot son."

Looking for love

Unlike you might expect of a young celebrity with a hot HBO show, John David doesn't pride himself on being a player, despite playing otherwise on Ballers. He told talk show host Steve Harvey that he's actually self-conscious when dating because he questions if ladies are flirting with him as a person or if they're trying to cozy up to his famous family name. "I have trouble trusting. I have trust issues thinking that they pick me because of who my father is," he said. He told Men's Journal, "Growing up, I saw how people treated me differently when they knew who my father was."

On to the next one

In between production on Ballers, John David is still out there on the grind, looking for that next project. (Don't be surprised if you don't recognize him; he shaves his character's distinctive beard during the off-season and looks like a totally different dude.) When he has the chance, he's in New York, furthering his acting studies at the HB Studio in Greenwich Village, making connections, and hitting up auditions in L.A. The latter has not been as easy as one might expect for Denzel's spawn, and that's okay with John David. "I'm auditioning like crazy and I'm getting turned down like everybody else, so I feel great," he told Men's Journal. "I feel officially ingratiated with the world."

Shakespeare and the future

While talking about his upcoming turn in the film Coco, opposite rapper Azealia Banks, John David was asked if he could spit any rhymes of his own. The response was swift. "Absolutely not," he told The Breakfast Club. "I can spit some Shakespeare, but I can't rap." And it's true: John David told the radio show he'd love to perform "Shakespeare in the Park," and we'd love to hear that. Until then, we'll keep watching him ball on HBO.