It’s one thing for professional athletes to think that their skills on the field or court mean they can succeed on wax or film. Just ask Kobe Bryant. It’s another thing for musicians to think that being smooth on the mic means they can run a sweet post pattern in the NFL. Apparently that didn’t stop Marvin Gaye from trying to become a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions.
Larry Crowe of the Los Angeles Times has the story of a chance meeting between the Detroit Lions’ Lem Barney and Gaye. Barney and Gaye became friends after the defensive rookie of the year knocked on the singer’s door to introduce himself. Mel Farr, also of the Lions, completed the trio that became fast friends.
The three became tight especially after Tammi Terrell’s death which Gaye didn’t take well (to say the least). He ended up inviting them to appear on his hit “What’s Going On”. Unfortunately Barry Gordy and Motown thought the record was too political and wouldn’t touch it. Gaye refused to record any more music until the single was released.
In the meantime, Gaye bulked up and got the idea that he could play wide receiver for the Lions. Wonder where he got that idea.
Though he had never participated in organized sports, the singer believed he was a gifted athlete.
“I was always a sports fan,” he told David Ritz, author of the 1985 Gaye biography “Divided Soul,” “but I was determined to play for real. I knew I could. . . .
“You see, I had this fantasy: I was in the Super Bowl, with millions of people watching me on TV all over the world, as I made a spectacular leaping catch and sprinted for the winning touchdown.”
Through Barney and Farr, a former UCLA star, Gaye knew most of the Lions and had met their coach, Joe Schmidt.
“So Marvin went in to talk to coach Schmidt about it,” Barney says. “Schmidt asked if he had any film of when he played in high school or college and Marvin hung his head and said, ‘I didn’t play in high school. I didn’t play in college.’ So Schmidt said, ‘What makes you think you can play professional ball?’
“He said, ‘Coach, I just believe the first time I touch the ball I would score a touchdown.’ And Joe said, ‘I like your enthusiasm, so let me think about it.’”
Schmidt says he told the singer, “If I could sing like you, I certainly wouldn’t want to play football,” believing that Gaye and Barney were joking when they first met with him. Only after Gaye returned to meet with the coach a second time, this time unescorted, did Schmidt realize he was serious.
Still, Schmidt was unwilling to put the singer in harm’s way and quickly rejected the idea as unworkable.
Master P and his son weren’t the first musicians to fail at organized sports. Remember Garth Brooks’ pathetic attempts to play for the Padres? Schmidt did the right thing for the sake of music but imagine the Detroit Lions on Hard Knocks talking about Gaye trying to make the team. Matt Millen probably would have signed him to a multi-year contract.
Six months after Gaye recorded “What’s Going On”, Motown released it and it went gold before classic as it is even today. He made a full album by the same name and some assclown was stupid enough to sell it so I could buy it at a second hand store on vinyl for $5. I got five on it and then some. I’m talking about kicking in like Shinobi.
Good on Crowe for bringing this story to the masses but most of you would be well served to watch the American Masters on Marvin Gaye for starters. Better yet, get a compilation or several albums if you don’t know where to start. Remember or learn about when R&B used to be good and had substance.
Here’s your Deuce double feature. Not only do we give you “What’s Going On”. You also get a little “Mercy Mercy Me”. You’re welcome.
I’m pretty skeptical of surveys — after reading through the fine print in most of them you come to realize one of two things: 1) the questions were created in a way to create a predetermined result; or, 2) most of the people in this country were raised similarly to wolf-boys Romulus and Remus. Think I’m exaggerating? Well, where else can an accused rapist (and philanderer) overtake a sex addict (and philanderer) as the most beloved athlete in sports?
Anyways, the other day, Street Smith’s Sports Business Daily released its “Most Marketable in the MLB” survey. Not shockingly, Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter ranked #1, appearing on 47 of the 49 ballots. This is the third time since 2003 Jeter has topped the list. In other words: yawn.
Wouldn’t it be pretty great if Street Smith’s actually released a “least marketable” list? A few seasons ago, this list would have been too easy to make — with guys like John Rocker and Carl Everett still pulling on jerseys, the list writes itself. Instead, it’s left to me. The criteria: I can’t think of one thing these guys could legitimately advertise that would make people want to buy the product… even if they were cool enough to parody themselves (not likely). Here we go:
Milton Bradley: I’ve heard all the stories about how Milton is misunderstood. And yes, the story of his upbringing is horrendous. While there is no doubt he is an incredibly talented player, his personality makes it tough for people to get attached to him. With over eleven seasons in the big leagues, he’s already on his eighth team. When he’s not confronting umpires, he’s been known to go after writers and fans. Oh, and he’s admitted he suffers from mental problems. At least he puts himself out there…
"Now, did I miss the entire 2006 season or 2007? Oh wait, it was pretty much both."
Boston Red Sox, who gave the shortstop with the career .723 OPS 40 of that 50 million. So, overpaid, under-performing, and a batterer: three keys to endorsement success.
Carl Pavano: Baseball’s “American Idle” signed a four year, $40M deal with the Yankees in 2004. His output those four seasons: a record of 9-7. In 2006, he wrecked his Corvette and broke two ribs while rehabbing another injury. Which one? I can’t remember. Take your pick: the “Idle” was sidelined with shoulder, back, buttocks and elbow injuries throughout his time in New York… or should I say Tampa, where he spent most of his four year deal doing rehab. While it is never fair to blame a guy for injuries, he somehow recovered well enough to pitch 200 innings last year and is on pace to do the same in 2010. Even former flame Alyssa Milano thinks he’s a flake. I considered maybe a deal with a medical equipment company, but I’m pretty sure if there was a way to injure yourself in an MRI machine, Carl would figure it out.
Its the 16th championship title for the LA Lakers as they beat the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals by the score of 83-79. Shockingly, their Wheaties box is already set to go out to your local grocery store. Check your store shelves in a month or so for it if you want it. Personally, as a Washington sports fan I had no horse in this race but in the interests of not being a sore loser I wish the Lakers and their fans congratulations for an excellent season.
Even though it would’ve been a heck of a lot cooler to see Phil Jackson lose one of these things for once. That guy is friggin bullet-proof. Also, can people put the rest the whole Kobe is as good as MJ now b/c he won almost as many titles? Kobe wasn’t even the best player on the team for the ones he won with Shaq. He was the Jimmy Olson to Shaq’s Superman. Kobe is an excellent player, but he is no Michael Jordan.
If you don’t believe me, look up the stats on Basketball-Reference.com and you’ll see, its not even close. As a matter of fact, Lebron and Dwayne Wade are probably closer to his skills than Kobe is.
Nevertheless, congrats Lakers. John Wall is now gonna be gunning for you. TO BE THE BEST YOU GOTTA BEAT THE BEST!