The 15-year-old rapper stars in Like Mike as an orphan who finds
a pair of magical sneakers that give him super hoops skills.
Bow, who learned the game on the playground courts in his
hometown of Columbus, Ohio, got the role because he could play.
SI: You recently changed your name from Lil' Bow Wow to just Bow
Bow Wow: I'm getting older. By the time I'm 20, I don't want to
be known as no Lil' Bow Wow.
SI: How would you describe your hoops game?
Bow Wow: I've got a handle like Iverson, and I shoot like Kobe.
SI: A lot of NBA stars appear in Like Mike. Did you school any of
them on the set?
Bow Wow: Of course. Tracy McGrady gave me trouble--he smacked my
shot to the bleachers--but everyone else I beat at one-on-one.
SI: You mean guys like Jason Kidd, Chris Webber and Alonzo
Mourning? Who was the easiest to beat?
Bow Wow: Mourning. He's got game, but he just couldn't keep up
SI: You do a cover of Kurtis Blow's Basketball on the film's
soundtrack. The original had a line,"Ralph Sampson is really
mean." Do you know who Sampson is?
Bow Wow: No.
SI: You've said if you don't make the NBA, you'll become a sports
agent. Which has a better chance of happening?
Bow Wow: NBA player. But I've got the smarts to become an agent.
SI: Who wins a one-on-one between you and your rap rival,
[12-year-old] Lil' Romeo?
Bow Wow: I haven't seen his game. But I'm so eager to play Lil'
Romeo, it's not even funny.
SI: How about between you and Master P [Lil' Romeo's father]?
Bow Wow: I would destroy Master P.
SI: But wasn't he in the Continental Basketball Association?
Bow Wow: He wasn't there for long.
SI: If someone calls you a dog, do you take that as an insult or
Bow Wow: If I'm playing ball, I'd take it as an insult. But if
someone walked up and said, "Yo, what up, dog," I don't take that
as a negative. --Pete McEntegart
COLOR PHOTO: SIDNEY BALDWIN/TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX (BOW WOW) "I shoot like Kobe."