Joining the ever-expanding roster of rappers-turned-thespians, Lil’ Bow Wow trades one mic for another in his debut starring role. The 15-year-old plays a plucky orphan (is there any other kind in Hollywood?) with two dreams: a good family to call his own and a chance to play in the NBA. When a magical pair of old sneakers, rumored to have once been worn by Michael Jordan, is donated to the orphanage, the young hero’s dreams come true.
Bow, whose 5’2” status doesn’t dampen his own fantasies of making it to the NBA, quickly learned that a star’s life isn’t all glamour. ”Doing a movie takes months and months?where an album can only take a few days,” he says. ”It can get very boring…but I had fun when we were shooting in Philly because I had the chance to play with the basketball players.” Hoops stars like Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, Rasheed Wallace, and Jason Kidd all make cameos, while lil’ Lipnicki (”Jerry Maguire”), playing a fellow orphan, balances out the film’s height ratio. ”I was teasing him a lot on the set — hitting him and stuff — but he’s real cool,” says Bow of his costar. Title notwithstanding, don’t expect an appearance from Jordan. ”He never came on the set, but he’s heard some things about the film,” says Bow. ”He saw the shoes I wear and was like, ‘I don’t know if I’d ever wear those shoes.”’