By Peter Schrager
Special to Page 3
Yeah, yeah ... this just in: Athletes want to be rockers and rappers, and rockers and rappers want to be athletes.
Com'on folks, it's not like Ron Artest is the first athlete to grow tired of putting his grovin' aspirations on hold for the game that's made him um ... admired, famous, and oh yeah, grotesquely weathy.
Hey, if you've got the music in you, we here at Page 3 understand that you've got to let it out. So, go ahead Artest, knock yourself out. We're merely suggesting you proceed with caution. After all, only a few sports stars have attempted the crossover, and even fewer have actually succeeded in their quest.
Take a look around the sports world, a few of your NBA brethren are proof positive that the athlete-turned-musician gig doesn't always pay the rent:
10. The Rock, wrestler: "It Doesn't Matter"
In 2000, the former University of Miami defensive lineman, whose given name is Dwayne Johnson, teamed up with Wyclef Jean on his rap single, "It Doesn't Matter."
And while his role was limited to a few lines of rapping and a constant blurting of, "It doesn't matter," The Rock's contributions were regrettable enough to make this list.
With no pattern or logical timing as to when he screams (and I mean screams) the trademark line, the entire song is disjointed and painfully rushed and unrehearsed.
Yikes, it does matter ... to my ears.
Memorable lyrics: "Yo, this is The Rock kicking it with the Refugee camp. And you're bout to smell what The Rock is cooking"
To listen: Click here and check out track No. 5.
9. Chris Webber, Sacramento Kings: "2 Much Drama"
Meanwhile, the background music is ... well, have you ever banged a piano with your elbow? It's painful to both your elbow and your ears. Now, imagine that noise for four minutes, and you have the beat to "2 Much Drama."
C-Webb proves to be more clueless on the mic than during the final minutes of a big game.
Memorable lyrics: "They blind, I'm braille, so feel me."
To listen: Click here and check out track No. 20.
8. 1986 New York Mets: "Let's Go Mets"
One year later, the New York Mets tried to recreate that magic with their version of a team-collaborative music video. The result: A lackluster flop, complete with B-List celebrity cameos, including way too much Joe Piscopo.
An obvious knockoff, "Let's Go Mets" was to "The Super Bowl Shuffle" what "'The North Shore" is to "The OC" -- a poorly executed rip-off.
Memorable lyrics: "We've got the teamwork, to make the dream work!"
7. John McEnroe, former tennis star: "Best of Me"
In fact, there are tales of audience members pelting Johnny Mac with tennis balls at live gigs. In his autobiography "Serious," McEnroe recalls one specific performance in Italy vividly, "A guy in the audience yelled, after our first song, 'You suck!' ... and then our equipment exploded."
The equipment, unlike McEnroe, knew when it was time to stop.
Despite two years touring in 15 countries, McEnroe's "Johnny Smyth Band" couldn't surpass "gimmick" status, and the band eventually folded in 1997.
McEnroe now works as host of a self-titled late-night show on CNBC, in which his interviewing ability plays a close second to his singing ability. Tennis anyone?
Memorable lyrics: "No more arguing about arguing. Not this trip again. No more yo-yo man."6. Barry Zito, Oakland A's: "Boy Next Door"
Michael Moore should consider a documentary on the propaganda surrounding Zito's music career. When I google "Sally Zito Project" (named for Barry's sister and musical partner), I found a slew of rave reviews. I'm here to tell you they're all lies, lies and more lies.
In "Boy Next Door," Zito's guitar work isn't that bad, but his vocals are unbearable -- his voice cracks more times than a kid at his Bar Mitzvah.
The world already has one too many John Mayer's; it surely doesn't need another with a Cy Young Award under his belt.
Barry, can I get you a throat lozenge?
Memorable lyrics: "I've got two sisters, and I know how girls can be. ... I will respect you, oh baby, yeah."
To listen: Click here and check out track No. 3.5. Nikolai Volkoff , Wrestler: "Cara Mia"
The first cassette tape I ever owned was WWF's "The Wrestling Album."
And while Hulk Hogan, Capt. Lou Albano, and the Junkyard Dog all deserve ... uh, honorable mention, for their contributions to this classic 1987 album, it's Nikolai Volkoff's techno remix of the Jay and the Americans' hit "Cara Mira" that will remain etched in my mind forever.
Nothing says "chart-topper" like a Russian wrestler singing a '60s love ballad over a techno beat. Take it from me, Volkoff mastered the "foreign guy butchers the American song" bit before William Hung was out of diapers.
Volkoff's version of "Cara Mia" makes Hung's rendition of "She Bangs" sound like ... well, Ricky Martin.
His inability to hit high notes and over-the-top Russian accent, backed by a cheesy techno beat, earned Volkoff's musical effort a well-deserved place on this list.
Memorable lyrics: "Each time we part my heart wants to die. Darling hear my prayer, Cara Mia fair, I'll be your love 'til the end of time."
To listen: Click here and check out track No. 10.
4. Allen Iverson (a k a Jewelz), Philadelphia 76ers: "40 Bars"
The Answer released this message while working on the album:
"If individuals of the gay community and women of the world are offended by any of the material in my upcoming album, let the record show that I wish to extend a profound apology. If a kid thinks that I promote violence by the lyrics of my songs, I beg them not to buy it or listen to it. I want kids to dream and to develop new dreams."
I love that last line. Surely, there's a positive message hidden somewhere: Hey, it's OK to verbally attack homosexuals, encourage domestic assault, and promote murder as long as you couch those remarks by saying you want "kids to dream and to develop new dreams."
Memorable lyrics: "I know killaz that kill for a fee, that'll kill ya ass for free, believe me/How you wanna die, fast or slowly?"
To listen: Click here and check out the audio/video section.3. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers: "K.O.B.E." (featuring Tyra Banks)
Like Iverson, Bryant's 2000 rap album "Visions" never hit the shelves. But, unlike "Misunderstood," Kobe's "Vision" was not held back due to lewd and offensive lyrics. Columbia Records actually put the nix on Kobe's debut effort simply because it was awful.
According to The Daily Standard's Matthew Continetti,"The album was supposed to be out in March, but then they (Columbia) listened to it again, and it was so bad they put the kibosh on it."
Despite the album's premature death, the single "K.O.B.E." was released in the Spring of 2000. In a June 14, 2000, article in "SportsJones Magazine," columnist Elliot Vanskike wrote, "Wedged between his fretful silliness is the spelling lesson cum chorus which, if you hear it, will burrow into your brain and plant its hooks as it has into mine. It's not that 'K.O.B.E.' is catchy, because it's not. It's just that it will light up the same neurons that fire when you hear the Hamster Dance Song, and it's about as well produced."
That about sums it up.
Supermodel Tyra Banks joined Kobe on this disaster. Sadly, the reality is that the host of "America's Top Model" probably wouldn't make it through the first-round of "American Idol" with this performance.
But I'm going to give the talented Ms. Banks the benefit of the doubt, because its nearly impossible to make these lyrics sound good. Kobe speaks of "broads," "pigeons," and even suggests slapping a girl for being too loud in public.
In literature, they call this foreshadowing. In music, they call this a "never-released album."
Memorable lyrics: "Uh, what I live for? Basketball, beats and broads. From Italy to the U.S., yes, it's raw. I'ma search for the one that make my wealth feel poor. Who can ignore the spotlight life of Grandma."
2. Denny McLain, former Detroit Tiger: "Cute"
This lounge music has the feel of entering the hotel bar at any Ramada Inn. While "Cute" plays, I couldn't help but picture McLain in a rented tuxedo, tickling the keys of his organ, while a single dollar rests in his lonely tip jar and he sneaks free hors d'oeuvres from a distracted cocktail waitress.
Since retiring from baseball, McLain has been jailed for extortion, drug abuse, and racketeering -- yet, it's safe to say his musical career is, by far, his worst offense.
Memorable lyrics: None, just nails on a chalkboard-like noise.
To listen: Click here and check out track No. 8.
1. Deion Sanders, former two-sport star: "Must Be The Money"
"Must Be The Money" features "Neon Deion" gently whispering over a cheesy Casio Keyboard-style beat. Sanders is off-key, the music is out-of-tune, and the lyrics are offensively bad. Talk about a triple threat.
Memorable lyrics: "The way I live is oh so phat. I got two ladies and Prime Time is all that."
To listen: Click here.One of ESPN's final 100 "Dream Job" contestants, Peter Schrager recently graduated from Emory University and covers popular culture for Page 3.