Fourteen days from now, the Sixers will play their first game of the season against the Miami Heat. For the past sixteen days, Liberty Ballers has been counting down the days until tip-off with some great insightful, thought provoking posts. This is not one of those.
Instead, we're giving you the second installment of the "Liberty Ballers at the Movies" series. What started with the gut-wrenching drama "Above The Rim" goes a completely different direction for part two.
Today, kids, we watch the Lil Bow Wow classic "Like Mike".
"Sometimes I dream, that he is me. You've got to see that's how I dream to be. I dream I move. I dream I groove. Like Mike, if I could be Like Mike."
The tune echoed over and over through the girlish looking teenage head of Lil Bow Wow's Calvin Cambridge as we pan down from darkness onto the rapper/actor cradling a Spalding and rocking a dilapidated alternate blue Allen Iverson jersey. After a barrage of passes and between the legs dribbles that would make AO or Hot Sauce roll over in their career-graves, Bow Wow along with friends Brenda Song (from "New Girl"!) and Jonathan Lipnicki brick more jumpers than a pick-up 2v2 game between Jordan Sams, Mike Levin, Dave Rueter, and me in the Vegas heat after a night of Irish Car Bombs.
"One game enough for you guys? I've already passed between Jordan's legs twice. Is Denny's open?" - Dave Rueter
The Iverson jersey clearly hasn't brought Mr. Fresh Az I'm Iz any luck on the court and his number one sworn enemy senses it. Over comes the group-home bully Ox aka Landry from the Dillon Panthers and later the East Dillon Lions to seize the moment for his personal gain. Landry challenges Bow Wow to a game of one-on-one (me and you - you and me - right here - on the court -all day - by myself - everyday - one bed - no pillowcase - one pillow - didn't nobody write me - woke up - went back to sleep - took a nap) for the coveted jersey. What did Bow Wow have to gain by winning? Nothing and I'll never understand why he accepted the challenge but being the testosterone filled thirteen year old he was, the game had to happen. Predictably enough, Landry blocked Bow Wow's shot right in his face and became the new owner of the blue Iverson shirt. Upon realizing it was too small, Landry Hulk Hogan'd the jersey.
OH HELL NO, MR. CLARK! Nobody rips an Allen Iverson alternate blue jersey in my house and gets away with it. Five minutes into the movie and I was praying for Bow Wow to give Landry what's comin.
It wasn't until the crabbiest of nuns showed up with donations that Bow Wow got the upper hand. Taking a look at a ratty pair of white Nike's with Carolina-blue accents, Bow Weezy recognizes the initials written on the tongue; MJ. Did these belong to Michael Jordan as a youngster? I think we all the answer.
It wasn't until Landry did one of the most despicable acts known to man, throwing them on the surrounding power lines, that the shoes gained power. Bow Wow, in an adorable yellow raincoat, got them back after lighting struck the shoes that night. The Power of Mike compels you.
Bow Wow didn't discover the magic those sneakers could bring him until halftime of the lowly Los Angeles Knights/Toronto Raptors game. As a promotional stunt, the dad from American Pie selected one fan to play against Knights' star Tracy Reynolds aka Ricky (if you don't know why, that's your loss). This fan was, you guessed it, Bow Wow.
Side note: why they had a player stay out during halftime is beyond me. Shouldn't he be back getting halftime adjustments? Icing his knees? Changing in to a fresh pair of Jordan IXs (which yes, he does wear during the games)? Anything productive? Adam Aron says no.
First possession looked like beginner's luck as Bow Wow hit a stepback 30-footer over a lackadaisical Ricky. Not to be outshined by a thirteen year-old, the jacket came off and Ricky was ready to go. After some shaking and baking, imitating Iverson, Bow Wow got by the NBA star and dunked it home for the score. Who was this kid?
A 13-year old who can dunk and drill 30 footers? You can't pass that up and neither could Eugene Levy. Originally signed as a gimmick, Bow Wow got a shot at playing time the next game and diagrammed a play I still suggest in Bethlehem City League to this day; the give-and-give-and-go (they'd be expecting the give-and-go). In addition to his A+ strategy, Bow Wow notched 27 points in his debut, earning a season-long contract and a win over the Tim Duncan-less Spurs. Gregg Popovich might be able to outsmart the best of the NBA but not So-So Def's finest.
Throughout the course of his NBA odyssey, we see him meet up with random players from around the league such as Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, and Chris Webber. In his first game away from LA, Bow Wow and Knights come to Philly to take on Iverson and the 76ers. A scene that was clearly filmed without AI and Bow Wow being anywhere in the same building, Iverson awkwardly asks the camera if he's the mascot. We immediately cut to Bow Wow crossing over a player that you can easily tell is an Iverson stunt double. Hollywood.
The best of all the cameos, stealing the show, was without a doubt the pre-game interaction between Bow Wow, Steve Nash, Michael Finley, and Dirk Nowitzki. Like a teenage girl meeting Harry Styles, Dirk shyly approaches Bow Wow and asks if he can have his autograph for his niece.
As Bow Wow's fame and popularity grows faster than my bar tab at Mur Mur, Ricky predictably goes into jealously mode and is defensive when it comes to the new child star. Like all other feel-good sports flicks, Ricky changes his paradigm on the situation and at some point teaches Bow Wow geometry by painting his house with red triangles. This coming from a guy who was getting all pissy over a splash of water getting over his $2,000 jacket? I'm not buying it but we'll let it slide because I just want to hear the "Basketball" song from Bow Wow and Fabolous.
With the resurgence of the once lowly Knights, LA was giddy about the possibility that the Knights would make the playoffs. All that was needed was a victory in the season finale against Vince Carter, Alvin Williams (note: not actually in the movie) and the Toronto Raptors.
The group home owner, who's been getting the cash from Bow Wow's contract all season, is notified that once Bow Weezy is adopted, the money goes to the new family. Carl Winslow and his wife have made an offer to take in Bow Wow and it appears he's going to accept. Feeling threatened, the group home king steals Bow Wow's shoes, rendering him useless in on-court activities. What a dick.
Noticing his shoes are missing right before tip-off, Bow Wow jacks a trash collecting golf cart from the Staples Center and takes it all the way back to the home, never getting pulled over for riding a golf cart on the roads.
Hijinx ensue and the owner ends up tied to a chair, the kids retrieve the shoes and take a motorcycle gang-esque ride back to Staples on their motorized Razor scooters; all padded up, of course. Safety first.
Bow Wow makes it back to the game at the start of the 4th quarter down 21. It's a season on the brink and they need the little man to save ‘em. The comeback starts and with the game on the line, there's a loose ball at the middle of the court. Seemingly all ten men fall on the ball like a David Wilson fumble and the Knights have possession, calling timeout in the process.
Without his powers, Bow Wow is forced to play the game with normal thirteen year old boy skills. He gets Carter to jump at the pump fake, kicks it to Ricky who heaves the last second jumper and it's a swish! For the first time ever, the Knights are headed to the playoffs to be quickly swept away by the number one seed. It's every eighth seed's dream! Go Sixers!
We flash to after the season has ended. The Knights are now the sponsors/owners of the group home, and Bow Wow is still a resident after he turned down Carl Winslow. After a heart to heart with Ricky, it's revealed to Bow Wow that he's going to be Ricky's new son. Luckily for Ricky, it's adopt an orphan, get one free day! Coming to live with Bow Wow and Ricky is little Jonathan Lipnicki, eight pound head and all.
They're all one big happy family and whatever, let's get to it. Bow Wow let's go! We're playin............