By now, I'm sure virtually everyone has seen the pictures of U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps flashing the most gold we've seen around anyone's neck since Mr. T. And I'm also sure that, faster than you can say "B.A. Baracus" (Mr. T's character on The A-Team
; the "B," by the way, stood for "Bosco"), we'll all be witnessing the greatest fruits of Michael Phelps' world-record-setting labor - namely, commercials! But, seriously, after the polish is off the medals, and the public begins to tire of Phelps' overexposed endorsement of bankcards, timepieces, and breakfast cereals, exactly what is Michael going to do with himself? Remember, the Olympics happen only every four years. Once upon a time, you know, Mr. T had his own cereal, too.
There may be hope, though, for the world's greatest swimmer to start to, as they say, "give back" to his sport and perform true public service. And far sooner than you'd expect from an athlete in his early twenties. And I say this not simply because it's just been announced that Phelps and his coach Bob Bowman are in negotiations to buy a swimming pool in Phelps' hometown of Baltimore — where, according to Bowman, he and the swimmer will begin to work to teach swimming to the next generation.
Next generation? Michael can start right now, with this
generation — and specifically with the person he says was a great inspiration to him during his Olympic quest.
I refer, of course, to rapper Young Jeezy, whose song "I Got What It Takes," wherein he says that "I'm hustlin' tryna meet ma quota" [CONCERNED READERS PLEASE NOTE: THESE ARE NOT TYPOS; simply quoting Jeezy verbatim] reportedly was on heavy rotation on Michael Phelps' iPod before many of his record-setting races.
In a just-published interview with Rolling Stone, the Atlanta-based rap star has admitted that, while watching the Olympics has made him a great fan of Michael Phelps ("He's like the Young Jeezy of the swim world!"), Jeezy himself DOES NOT SWIM. "Somebody threw me in a pool once when I was younger, and I had to work it out," he confessed, "but other than that, no, I don't go swimming."
Jeezy's startling revelation got us thinking that there may well be other musicians who have this same skeleton in their crib's closet. And if, as Phelps' coach claims, "Michael's vision is to increase swimming in the United States and the world," perhaps he should start swim clubs all around the country to teach musicians how to master that "other" form of freestyle. We've got just the athlete for Phelps to partner with, too: Shaquille O'Neal! He plays sports, he makes music — and, most importantly. he swims
. I mean, we all remember Shaq's "Pool Jam," right? They can use it as the chain's name — or at very least a theme song.
"Bouncin' hot/ Keep it tight/ Welcome to the pool jam/ Bouncin' hot/ Let's get wet/Welcome to the pool jam."
Sounds like a slam dunk to me.
- Michael Phelps
- Young Jeezy