Forget Shad Moss, he will always be Lil’ Bow Wow to me and I choose to remember him as Calvin Cambridge who led the Knights to the playoffs. ‘Like Mike’ hit theaters 15 years ago today, and that is a scary thought. I still vividly recall release day, as my family was on our yearly vacation in Long Beach Island, New Jersey I made sure the July 3rd afternoon was cleared out to go see the film I had high expectations for and they were surpassed.
Right around this time I got heavily into basketball as a big-time Knicks and NBA fan. The John Schultz directed film laid out the blue-print for every kids dreams to one day play in the NBA all within a great plot around an orphan looking for family who stumbles on a pair of magical Michael Jordan sneakers. A theme heavily featured in the movie is friendship, two special ones that developed were between Calvin (Bow Wow) and Murph who was played by a young Jonathan Lipnicki and also Calvin and Tracy “T-Time” Reynolds (Morris Chestnut) once Cambridge made his way to the Knights.
‘Like Mike’ may not have been critically acclaimed, but I know ballers of my generation definitely appreciated the movie and it has a special place in early 2000’s pop-culture. I’m still waiting on the day an NBA team puts this to life, by letting a kid dress and sit on the bench for a game. If the Knicks let me do that in 2003, it would’ve been a life-changing experience that I have dreamt about on multiple occasions.
The most underrated part about this, the soundtrack was full of hip-hop bangers. “Basketball” is still a legendary track fusing a catchy hook with Jermaine Dupri and Brooklyn’s Fabolous. It even featured the NBA 2k2 video-game theme song. One thing that jumped out at me after purchasing the soundtrack at FYE (the good old days) was being introduced to Nas, who collaborated with Amerie for the tuneful track “Rule.” I’ll still go back from time to time to listen based on pure nostalgia.
Looking back on it, I feel like it kind of foreshadowed things that mean a lot to me in life. Combining friendship, family, basketball, sneakers, and music into one cultural experience turned motion picture. 15 years later it’s still on your usual nationally broadcasted movie channels every so often and whenever I land on it, I’m glued to the television until the very end. Thank you for making this film, I’m getting old.
— Shad Moss(Bow Wow) (@smoss) July 3, 2017