Their head’s in the game, but their heart’s in the song

2 Chainz’s college coach compared his skill set to NBA player George Gervin, who played for 14 pro seasons. (Courtesy of Getty Images)

Jason Ounpraseuth
Connector Staff

Musicians are the best at their craft because of the dedication they put into the medium. For many, it was their childhood dream to become to be a part of the music industry. That does not mean that there were not a few who dabbled in other interests like sports. Some were good enough or had the potential to possibly make a career out of it, if not for their aptitude in music. Here are the some of the best musician-athletes.

Bob Marley – Bob Marley’s two passions in life were music and soccer. The Jamaican singer-songwriter played in parking lots, fields and even inside the recording studio. Not much in-depth footage exists of Marley’s soccer prowess, but his street skills with the Wailers and his other friends show that he had a genuine passion for the game. The best way to get to know Marley, in his words, was to play soccer with him and the Wailers. There are varying opinions from journalists and friends on how far Marley could realistically go if he pursued a career in soccer, but the best way to describe his passion for the sport is in a quote from an interview on French television: “football [soccer] is freedom.”

2 Chainz Born Tauheed Epps, 2 Chainz was a star sixth man for North Clayton High in College Park, Georgia. The team won the Class AA state title in 1992-93. He was a Division I recruit who got some attention from the University of Memphis. He attended Alabama State on scholarship and played for the school from 1995 to 1997. The true passion for 2 Chainz was in rap, but many of his former coaches and teammates praise him. Old high school footage shows a versatile player that could guard multiple positions and be an effective player on offense. Even today, 2 Chainz shows glimmers of a potentially good basketball career.

Britney Spears – Before the release of her debut studio album “Baby One More Time,” Britney Spears was the point guard on her high school’s basketball team in McComb, Mississippi. Footage does not exist of her playing days in high school. There is a 2004 “Ellen” appearance where Spears and Ellen DeGeneres are briefly shooting on a hoop brought in by producers. Granted, Spears is in casual clothing, but despite failing badly on a few lay-up attempts, she hits the third and shows decent form on her jump shot. In March of last year, Spears posted a 30-second clip on Twitter captioned “a perfect day to shoot some hoops.” The video is more of her shooting and having some fun with her friend passing the ball between her legs. There is not a lot of evidence of point-guard skills from Spears, but she does have the skills of a reliable catch-and-shoot player.

MC Hammer – Better known as MC Hammer, Stanley Burrell sold stray baseballs and danced in the parking lot outside of Oakland Coliseum as a child. Oakland A’s team owner Charles O. Finley hired the 11-year-old as a clubhouse assistant and batboy. Burrell was given the nickname “Little Hammer” by A’s players because of his resemblance to “Hammerin’” Hank Aaron. He played second base in high school and earned a tryout with the San Francisco Giants. Burrell was passed over, but just getting an opportunity to tryout indicates that he had some potential to play professional baseball.

Quavo – Member of the hip hop group Migos, Quavo (Quavious Marshall) is a two-sport athlete. In his senior year at Berkmar High School, he became the starting quarterback. The team went 1-9 in the 2009 season, but Quavo was praised for his intelligence on the field and ability to read a defense. Quavo is better known today as a legitimately good basketball player. He recently won the MVP of the NBA Celebrity All-Star game. He has a good handle and a good jump shot, but more importantly, he is a great team player. He is a willing passer and moves well off the ball for open jump shots and lay-ups. Migos was formed in 2009, so a basketball career was out of the question, but Quavo is not to be taken lightly on the basketball court if challenged by a fan.

Avril Lavigne – Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne played ice hockey at the age of 10. She played in the boys’ hockey league in her hometown of Napanee, Ontario. She claims to have earned MVP honors two years in a row playing right wing. In high school, Lavigne played on the girls’ ice hockey team and on the girls’ baseball team.

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