Sports and entertainment:
a good pair
in theory, at least
The fusion between entertainment and sports
is an interesting one, to say the least. The trend hit full stride in the
early 1980s when the likes of Walt Frazier and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took
a break from the basketball court to appear in films. Frazier was in a
small film called Aaron Loves Angela (1975), but most will remember
Abdul-Jabbar in his very funny role as Roger Murdoch in Airplane!(1980).
More recently, weive seen Dean Cain, who
played college football and was drafted by the NFLis Buffalo Bills, become
a big TV star in his role as Superman in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures
Ray Allen of the NBAis Milwaukee Bucks
starred alongside Oscar winner Denzel Washington in Spike Leeis drama He
The Los Angeles Lakersi Rick Fox is an
aspiring actor (one of the reasons he agreed to take less money to play
in Los Angeles when he became a restricted free agent in Boston). Also,
the Lakersi Shaquille OiNeal has at least three movies on his résumé.
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman
is one of the many pro athletes who have tried and failed to make a successful
transition into the entertainment business.
of Global Entertainment
OiNealis former teammate, the enigmatic
Dennis Rodman, starred in the films <I>Simon Sez<P> and <I>Double
Team<P> and has appeared in his own television show, The Rodman
World Tour, on MTV.
A number of athletes can claim they have
their own shoe and their own CDs. Wayman Tisdale was not only a power forward
for the Phoenix Suns, but also a very talented jazz bassist.
Of course, OiNeal has many rap CDs in record
stores, and the Philadelphia 76ersi Allen Iverson released a controversial
rap album late last year.
A handful of entertainers have attempted
to take their shots at professional sports, and humorous attempts have
been made to meld the two -- for example, when country music superstar
Garth Brooks was invited to work out with the San Diego Padres and the
New York Mets.
Former New York Mets first baseman Keith
Hernandez made numerous cameos on Seinfeld, and Chicago Cubs firstbaseman
Mark Grace appeared in the Jim Belushi feature Taking Care of Business.
And of course, Percy Miller (a.k.a. Master
P) actually played a few NBA exhibition games wearing the uniforms of the
Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors.
But there is a line to draw between these
two worlds, and I believe that line has been drawn courtesy of boxer-turned-singer
(if thatis what he wants to call it) Oscar De La Hoya.
Come on now. Is this guy serious? De La
Hoya is to music what Don King is to boxing -- he ruins it.
Granted, this is just an opinion, but have
you seen the man perform live? When De La Hoya appeared on The Tonight
Show with Jay Leno in December, not only did the former champ sing
off-key, but his music sounded like a rip-off of Ricky Martin and Enrique
Iglesias. Hey, at least those guys can sing and dance.
De La Hoya looks like heis been hit in
the head too many times to be on stage in leather pants asking his senorita
to run to him. The guy canit dance, and he really canit sing. Itis a comedic
performance if anything. And I donit care if his CD sounds decent -- a
recording booth can work wonders. If he canit perform live, he loses my
This is not a knock on Latin music. The
genre truly is a wonderful expression of the heart and soul, but De La
Hoya has turned it into just another way to make money. He canit fight
anymore, and heis obviously not educated (enough), so he turns to the entertainment
industry. The manis 1-800-COLLECT commercials were 10 times better than
De La Hoya isnit the only culprit of this
unsuccessful transition, however. Thereis also OiNeal, who is a decent
rapper, but whose acting skills are reminiscent of the performances on
There has been a silver lining. Tisdale
is a very talented musician and is a very hot commodity in the Phoenix
jazz scene. Cain has become a respectable actor and hosts episodes of Ripleyis
Believe it or Not. Master P was cut from the Hornets and the Raptors,
but now plays in the ABA2000 (he newly founded basketball league). Iversonis
CD has received rave reviews from hip-hop magazines, despite its lyrics
about homosexuality, drug use and brutality toward women.
So all hope is not lost, but the fusion
of entertainment and sports is capable of reaching such levels as the less-than-satisfactory
to the downright ridiculous.
Or maybe itis just boxers.