NBA superstar Dwight Howard’s new educational children’s album, Shoot for the Stars, is for a good cause. The record benefits The BETA Center, an organization that specializes in the support of families in crisis and teen Moms in the Orlando area. Credit must given to Howard who, since entering the NBA straight from high school in 2004, has demonstrated a level of maturity and responsibility that is rare amongst today’s professional athletes.
The album, as one might expect, boasts a number of covers of classic stadium anthems that have been hilariously tweaked to make reference to Dwight’s status as a pro basketball player. Tag Team’s 1993 hit “Whoomp! (There It Is),” becomes “Hoop (There It Is).” And what of MC Hammer’s masterpiece, “U Can’t Touch This?” You guessed it, rather than the DIY-praising hook of the original, the all-star Center refreshes the archaic lyric by making “Howard” rather than “Hammer” time.
As well proving him as a better role model than many of his colleagues, Howard’s new record also demonstrates that he may have more book smarts than most of them too. Whether he required a lyric sheet when recording his version of the timeless “ABC’s,” this reviewer can neither confirm nor deny. We’ll have to wait for any possible live performances of the song to know for sure.
Aside from the fact that the NBA’s “Superman” had a surprisingly talented supporting cast with him in the studio (session musicians who have played with the likes of Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder), there isn’t much more to say about this album.
Instead, lets take a look at the “All Time Top Three List of NBA Players Doing Dorky Things For The Entertainment of Children.” Take a moment, if you will, to imagine just how much free-throw-interrupting smack was talked off the back of some of these ill-advised career moves:
3. David Robinson appears on Sesame Street — 1998
Former Spurs big man sung the alphabet and hung out with Count von Count. His segment was supposed to be done with Elmo, but in a legendary on set feud, the Count locked the red fuzz ball in a coffin and stood in. It was later revealed that the Count had been angling for a job as an NBA statistician, a position he still covets.
2. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Mugssy Bogues, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, and Sean Bradley star in “Space Jam” — 1996
Perhaps more of a travesty than the goofy appearance of the NBA legends in this film is the fact Bill Murray was also roped in to play a role in the green screen misadventure. Thankfully, Murray’s career bounced back and MJ returned to the Bulls for three more championships.
1. Shaquille O’Neal stars in “Kazaam” — 1996.
Widely acknowledged as the worst film about a rapping 7-foot genie of all time. The Celtics’ newest star also recorded the soundtrack. For a double-whammy of unashamed awfulness, the “Big Shamrock” tops our chart.
Dwight: you have work to do.