Lonzo Ball has had a busy summer.
Besides becoming the 2nd overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft and MVP of the Summer League, Ball recently released his first rap single, dissed Nas on the reality TV show that follows his annoyingly illustrious family, and, just last week, revealed his new shoe design. Look who’s focused on the upcoming season!
However, while his shoe wasn’t the worst thing ever (no one beats a champ, eh Steph Curry?), his single surprised everyone by not being a complete dumpster fire (unlike the last three Lakers seasons). While Ball can’t beat Damian Lillard’s flow (or even Jimmer Fredette when it comes to shoes, as it turns out), many NBA stars and professional athletes have done way worse when they decided that wealth and freakish athletic talent still don’t measure up to being a rock star.
Below, we present 5 forays into music from athletes that are way worse than Lonzo’s debut.
5. Guy Lafleur – “Lafleur!” (1979)
"The Check Cashed, Everyone!” might be a better title for this foray into disco music, replete with LaFleur offering up spoken hockey tips that often led to chants from back-up singers. Give the hockey legend this: at least he didn’t try to sing. Instead, he made something far more curious.
Who was this for? Disco fans? Hockey fans? Or the section of the Venn diagram where disco and hockey fans intersect? You might be thinking: “It was the seventies, everyone loved disco!” But that is decidedly untrue, especially around 1979.
The album even came with an instructional booklet, which means the record company figured most people had access to their own private skating rink where they could listen to the record, read the instructions, and then practice their groovy hockey skills.
4. Deion Sanders – “Prime Time” (1994)
In the ’90s, Deion Sanders could literally do anything. He played in the Super Bowl with the Cowboys and the World Series with the Braves and even released a rap album on MC Hammer’s record label.
Check out this three-month stretch of Sanders’ life: in December 1994, the day after Christmas (unlike LaFleur’s album, which was cobbled together in five days to take advantage of the pre-Christmas market), Sanders releases his album. In January of 1995, the Cowboys win the Super Bowl, and in the following month, he hosts SNL and plays a medley of his songs even though Jon Bon Jovi was the actual musical guest. What a time (for Deion Sanders) to be alive!
Cut to now, where Sanders’s incredible playing career is merely a footnote to his horrible fashion sense, and where he is literally the face of a Botox ad campaign. Back in his “Prime Time” heyday, Sanders bravely admitted that it “Must Be the Money” that made people like him. Now, it’s his wrinkle-free skin.
3. Alexi Lalas – “Ginger” (1998)
Soccer star and analyst Alexi Lalas recently called out the U.S. Men’s National team (and not undeservedly), but has no one ever called Lalas out for his shitty music?
Arguably, Lalas is a fairly legit musician, having released four albums (FOUR! “Shots” came out last year!!), and even opening for Hootie and the Blowfish in 1998 (in Europe, where seeing a soccer player play music is a draw), but, after four records, why can’t he write even one interesting song?
Sure, he can sing fine and he can play guitar, but all of his songs are bland echoes of other uninteresting, forgettable, late ’90s rock bands. Seriously, Lalas makes Local H sound like fucking Black Sabbath.
But don’t take it from me, take it from actual, positive reviews of his album on Amazon: “What it lacks in groundbreaking originality, it more than makes up for with energy and a joyful noise.” That’s a real review! They basically said “it’s bland as shit, but at least it’s happy and loud!”
Here’s another: “…it’s not very cutting-edge or risky or ambitious, but on the other hand you can tell he puts his heart into [it].” And, finally, “Very good effort!”
Ironically, these are the same things people say when defending soccer.
2. Carl Lewis – “Modern Man” (1987)
Carl Lewis’s manager once said that Lewis would be ”bigger” than Michael Jackson, which may have been why the Olympic Gold Medalist tried his hand at pop music. The resulting albums were nothing that were going to challenge the King of Pop, which was perhaps why he released them overseas.
Even Lewis admitted his music was “good, not great,” which is evidenced by the single “Break It Up,” whose video is a mix of workout video, Lewis highlight reel, and, finally, poorly-executed comedy.
Around the two minute mark, Carl is seen working out when an old lady wearing giant sunglasses interrupts him by blowing bubbles. Carl’s expression is like, “What the hell?” which would seem to set up the comedic premise that this batty old lady is going to keep fucking up Carl’s business with her stupid bullshit, but nope, because, literally two seconds later, Carl is suddenly in a hot tub with the old lady, kissing her shoulder and getting romantic. WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING HERE CARL? WHO ADVISED YOU THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?
Turns out that’s just the beginning, because at the end of the video, Lewis takes off with the old lady into the sauna, at which point she races out to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door and wink at the camera, implying that they’re going to fuck, right?
That much is obvious, but, putting aside my own bias of how gross it would be to fuck in a sauna for a second, is that funny? Were the bubbles a turn-on? Or is it, as the lyrics of “Break It Up” suggest, that having sex with an old lady in a sauna is just a part of the making “a human chain” that “we will never break up” so we can “make a better world”? It’s hard to say, really. The whole thing was a bad idea, but try telling that to Sweden, where the song was a #3 hit.
Lewis never gave up the dream until his 1993 performance of the national anthem, which closed the book on his music career for good.
1. Kobe Bryant – “Visions” (2000)
Not to excuse Shaq and his musical oeuvre, but Kobe gets top billing merely because his album never even got released.
Why is this significant? Because we’re talking about Kobe Bean Bryant! The guy’s been crying “look at me!!” to the world ever since he took Brandy to prom! Kobe has never done a single thing he didn’t want credit for, with the exception of what he does in Colorado hotel rooms.
In fact, when Kobe retired from basketball, he wrote a love letter to the sport itself, only to decide his words were cinematic enough to turn into an animated short film, even hiring John fucking Williams to write the score! He literally wrote one shitty thing, and now he’s making it into a movie!
So, why did he never release the album? How bad could the album have been? Kobe won’t discuss it. The only evidence we have is “K.O.B.E.,” the first and only available single and sole remaining evidence of his rap career. Kobe performed it once during the 2000 All-Star Weekend, with Tyra Banks (and one of the worst hats imaginable) in tow.
“Uh, what I live for? Basketball, beats and broads. From Italy to the US, yes, it’s raw,” sayeth Kobe in the opening salvo, only to later ponder the difficulty of finding true love. “Real love last, now do you love me or my cash? My name, fame, drop top, Benz or the wooden dash?”
Following the performance, Sony dropped Kobe from the label and his rap career was over. Presumably, Kobe then put Visions in his vault, like a D-grade version of Prince.
While Kobe has never gone on record to discuss why never pursued a rap career, he still won out in the end, particularly in the love game. Even while he was dropping rhymes about “real women” to “roll up” and “if you feel this, let me know” he was already dating 17-year-old Vanessa Laine, his (somehow still) wife.
Swish, you cradle-robber!!