SBS Film Vault: Like Mike

Written by :
Published on : April 19, 2017

 

 

2002’s Like Mike is another orphan sports story just like Angels in the Outfield. But our hero isn’t watching from the sidelines, he ends up balling with real NBA pros. It’s really like Angels in the Outfield mixed with something like Rookie of the Year. But with basketball. Time to lace up your favorite sneakers and hit the hardwood for this latest update of the SBS Film Vault.

 

The story

13-year-old Calvin Cambridge (Bow Wow) lives in an orphanage where basketball is his biggest passion. He sells candy bars outside LA’s Staples Center for the orphanage’s crooked proprietor. Calvin remains upbeat and knows he is destined for something big. One day, Calvin finds an old pair of sneakers with the initials “MJ” on the faded tongue. Could they really be Michael Jordan’s old kicks? Well before we can find out, local youth home bully, Ox, tosses the sneakers onto a power line. Cut to later, Calvin and his buds go out in a rain storm with the hopes of getting the shoes down. Lighting, the power line, it’s all very Back to the Future. Calvin survives the lighting strike and now the Nikes seems magically charged.

 

like mike shoe

 

Later, the orphan kids win tickets to the game and then Calvin wins a chance to play 1-on-1 with LA Knights star (yeah, they have a fake team even though the rest of the league is real NBA) Tracy Reynolds (Chestnut) at halftime. Calvin laces up his shoes and wishes to be “like Mike” and after that, he is. He can dribble, shoot and dunk just like his Airness himself. That’s right, 4’8″ Calvin Cambridge can easily dunk the ball. Yeah it shocks everyone. Calvin gets signed to the LA Knights and this flick is off and rolling. The only catch being, he needs to be wearing the shoes for the magic to work.

 

The cast

Starring Lil Bow Wow or Bow Wow or Shad Moss, depending on how well you know him. The funny little kid from Jerry Maguire (Jonathan Lipnicki) and a whole host of real NBA stars. Including: Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Dirk Nowitzki, Gary Payton, David Robinson, Rasheed Wallace and Chris Webber just to name a few. Also real actors like Morris Chestnut, Crispin Glover, Eugene Levy, Brenda Song, Jesse Plemons, Fred Armisen, Reginald VelJohnson and Robert Forster.

 

like mike poster

 

Takeaways

No it’s not the Lakers or Clippers, the made up Los Angeles team is the Knights which is great. Only thing better would have been the Hollywood Knights. Bob Seger rules! Tracy, the Knights other star, adopts the fucking kids at the end! Just like Angels in the Outfield. Both Calvin and his buddy Murph move in with Tracy. Who is another single man who spends all his time traveling for work and he just brings home two human beings like it’s picking up a pizza. Michael Jordan never shows up. You’d expect at least a small cameo, but nothing. I’m sure there was a very important card game he was attending.

 

This flick is really just a 99 minute commercial for Nike. I wouldn’t be surprised if the real Michael Jordan was a secret producer on this project. It’s all one big conspiracy to sell more sneakers and apparel. Seems like a bet MJ would take. I mean he is thanked in the credits. Just saying.

 

It must be the shoes.

 

 


SBS Short Story Series: Rookie Card

Written by :
Published on : July 10, 2015

A dark bedroom, Tim sits up in bed, his face only visible from the glow of his open macbook. He glances to his sleeping girlfriend. She’s in dream town. He opens a new tab, a few keys and back to the old habit; cards, well Basketball cards, 80’s NBA Fleer to be exact. Another check. Still sleeping. Scrolling, scrolling, then, wait. What? Tim’s eyes dart over the post “Mint condition”, “Michael Jordan”, “PSA 10”, and then the doozie “Rookie card” Tim holds back a shriek, his girlfriend stirs but doesn’t wake. Then he reads “Autographed”. He screams.

The next day,  Tim pulls up the ad and types a response. “I’ll trade you my whole collection…” He hits ‘send’ and crosses his fingers. Tim, in his red Jordan jersey, waits inside Chipotle. No burrito. He eyes the door. Finally, Kent arrives. He’s tall, older, windbreaker, briefcase, like Clint Eastwood, if he sold drugs. Tim waves him over. Kent sits and opens the briefcase. The Jordan. In its hard plastic case. Tim inspects it like a jeweler while Kent gets in line. Tim looks up and realizes he is alone with the prize. He looks across the dining room to the door. He calculates the distance. He looks to Kent then back to the door. In walk two Chicago Police Officers. Tim’s eyes go back to the card. Kent returns with a soda. “So we got a deal or what?”

In the parking garage, Tim opens the trunk to his car and pulls out two huge boxes of cards. Kent gives them a quick look and nods. He hands the briefcase to Tim. Kent loads the boxes into his car. Tim locked in a trance, starring at his new baby. Before leaving Kent asks “you wanna know how I got the autograph?” Tim never looks up from the card. “Of course”. Kent gets close and leans in “I met him at the grocery store” with that, Kent stabs Tim in the gut. He stabs him again and again. He is the Michael Jordan of stabbing people. Tim gasps as his last breathe oozes out. Kent pulls the rookie card from his hands. Blood all over the case. He wipes it on Tim’s jersey and then drives off.

Kent in his trophy room. Wall to wall memorabilia. He adds Tim’s cards to his collection and returns the Jordan to its rightful place on the mantel. Later, Kent lies in bed with his laptop, his wife next to him. He posts “Rookie Card for sale or trade”.

The End.


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