Not Jiggy Enough: 9 Athletes Who Couldn’t Make the Leap to Music
The drive that motivates athletes is crucial to their success, it can as easily lead to their downfall. A desire to conquer different arenas outside of sport has proven wildly fruitless in all but a handful of examples. The flash and status associated with music draws many athletes like so many overpaid moths to a cliché-ridden flame. There have been a few athletes that have made the transition to critical acclaim, like Waymon Tisdale and Scott Radinsky of the punk band 10 Foot Pole, but 99 times out of 100, they end up like these nine guys. Let us delight in their failures.
9. Bronson Arroyo
Kicking things off is Bronson Arroyo, former Red Sox star and desperate rocker wannabe (Hello, cornrows!). Unfortunately, as we shall see on this list, baseball players’ musical tastes generally run sickeningly mundane. Any trip to a ballpark will result in countless Creed and Nickelback songs as at bat music, and Bronson Arroyo is this mindset personified. You wanna hear him cover a 13-year-old Goo Goo Dolls song? Neither do I, but it’s right above. The fact that he sang backup for Dropkick Murphys on “Tessie” makes me think less of Boston’s finest.
8. Mike Piazza
12-Time All Star, Major League Baseball. 0-time All Star, rock music. Generally, if a person looks like they could be a front-man for a top-selling Christian rock band, they probably won’t rock too terribly hard…or well, for that matter. In case other red flags need to be raised, the band in which he plays is 1) called the BOGMEN, and 2) comprised of other baseball players. Pass. I don’t care if Keith Moon or John Bonham were playing skins for this band, I still wouldn’t want to listen. Factor in that Piazza is keeping time for the Bogmen, and that band’s stock plummets.
Slightly redeeming Piazza are the facts that he has strong ties to Zack Wylde’s metal band, Black Label Society, and is godfather to Wylde’s son, Hendrix. But that’s just window dressing. Bad music is bad music. And this is bad music. Sadly, no clips of him keeping time are available, so you’ll just have to trust me and listen to him pontificate on classic metal in the above clip.
7. Ron Artest
I’m an equal opportunity list-maker. As such, I have no qualms putting crazy people on this list. Or reformed crazy people. The jury’s still out. In any event, Artest’s record label, Tru Warier Records, keeps cranking out the “whatever the opposite of hits” is. When your big television break is on “Lopez Tonight,” the ceiling on your career is pretty low.
That said, if Artest quit basketball or gets kicked out, he could have a very viable rap career one day, as he has many of the hallmarks of successful hip-hop artists, namely: a delusionally high self-images, erratic temper, and violent tendencies. With the state of mainstream hip-hop being what it is, he couldn’t possibly be any worse than Chingy.
6. The 1985 Chicago Bears
Of course, these guys weren’t trying to get careers as musicians. But they did cross-over, and America couldn’t escape the most derivative rap song ever concocted (probably) by the most lazy of white, drive-time DJ’s. In the above video, we are treated to horrible dances performed by finely-tuned athletic machines, William “Refrigerator” Perry cluing us into the fact that he “may be large but is no dumb cookie,” and near-lethal doses of Jim McMahon.
Again, these gentleman performed this song for the novelty of it all, but the fact that this resonates as the most haunting example of athletes crossing over into music guarantees their inclusion on this list. Their Super Bowl Victory doesn’t even come close to making up for this.
5. Deion Sanders
Vanity, thy name is “Prime Time.” Probably laying in a gold bed, Deion woke up one morning and said to himself, “Well, I’m a great football player, and I became a mediocre baseball player. By that rationale, I must have the chops to become at least a shitty rapper.” Not even close. You know that mental image you that flashes when someone reminds you that Deion Sanders had a rap career? Well that’s EXACTLY how Deion Sanders’ rap career sounds. All flash and no substance. That might fly on the gridiron, but on an album, it’s a recipe for disaster. Don’t take my word for it. Click above at your own peril to experience “Must Be the Money” off the album Prime Time. Ugh.
4. Carl Lewis
Despite having garnered 9 Olympic gold medals, there are clearly limits to his excellence, as his less-than-stellar performance singing the national anthem in 1993 demonstrated. While everyone maintains their composure fairly well during the fiasco, it’s always strange to see someone who has excelled so far in one arena fail so miserably in another. He had mentioned in previous interviews that he fancied himself a singer, so I suppose in interviews after this, he admitted that he fancied himself delusional.
3. Roy Jones Jr.
Despite being backed by a (somewhat) all-star cast on his sophomore album, the former champion of several boxing weight classes couldn’t cross over to music industry success (despite getting a mind-blowing 9,000,000 hits on YouTube). His first album dropped in 2004 with little fanfare, while the second one had very little in the way of substance, it tried to make up for it with appearances by Bun-B, Petey Pablo, Mike Jones, and Juvenile. No dice. The albums failed to receive any sort of RIAA certification despite big production budgets.
2. Kobe Bryant
Perhaps the most surprising entry, Kobe doesn’t maintain the characteristics of many of the entries on the list. He’s extremely driven on the court; a fierce competitor. So why would he want to enter an arena where he knows he won’t even be near the best? Also, he doesn’t seem to care one iota about what the public thinks of him, so street cred is out of the question.
My only theory is that he just likes rap music and wanted to see if he could do it. (Spoiler alert: He cannot). Fortunately for him, the failure of his rap exploits haven’t turned him into a hyphenated punchline like his former teammate Shaq. Here’s a tip from a white non-rapper: If you’re laying down a hip-hop track and your producer asks is you want Tyra Banks to appear on it. Just say no.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our champion. After a early 90’s cameo with the Fu-Schnickens on “What’s Up Doc? (Can We Rock?)” Shaquile got the impression that he could do anything in the realm of entertainment. Steel and Kazaam drove that point home in the realm of cinema. (I don’t count Blue Chips, cause Shaq did a good job playing himself.)
However, his coup de grace on the mic would be this little ditty: “Biological Didn’t Bother,” a surprisingly heartfelt song on how he considers his stepdad to be his real father. While I won’t mock the sentiment…well, I won’t even mock the song. You can watch the video and mock for yourself. He’s a big guy,