The early 2000s are a bit of a blur to me.
After graduating high school and fucking off a year of my life in a Walgreen’s photo lab, I joined the military as the ’90s drew to a close. So between getting barked on by drill sergeants, bouncing around the country and acclimating to my new life as a member of the United States Air Force, I really don’t remember shit leading up to 9/11. But what I do remember is walking past a TV in a random department store with some quirky white kid rapping about beating Shaq in a game of basketball.
Channeling his inner Will Smith, this lying-ass child weaves an intricate tale about how he ran into the four-time NBA champ while playing pickup, challenges him to a game of one-on-one, then proceeds to rout the seven-foot, 300-pound behemoth by distracting him (since apparently, Hack-a-Shaq wasn’t an option).
If this sounds utterly ridiculous, I would have to concur. Because I had that exact same thought as I stared at the television in disbelief: “What in the hell is this?”
At the end of the music video, it turns out that the whole thing was just a dream—which is exactly what I was hoping when I heard the news that Aaron Carter, the former child star behind the pop smash “That’s How I Beat Shaq,” will be Lamar Odom’s opponent during an upcoming celebrity boxing match.
In recent years, both Carter and Odom have had their share of personal struggles. After being cast out of the Kardashian kingdom, Odom miraculously survived a much-publicized drug overdose in 2015 before flirting with a return to professional basketball four years later. While Carter has endured a string of drug-related arrests, levied abuse allegations against his siblings Leslie and Nick (of the Backstreet Boys), and has been crippled by financial woes.
Their upcoming bout checks every box for a desperate cash grab, especially when you factor in the size discrepancy between Odom and Carter. The 2011 NBA Sixth Man of the Year is almost a foot taller and Carter, who’s been noticeably gaunt for years, has weighed as little as 115 pounds as recently as 2017.
But when there’s bills to pay, the show must go on, I suppose. And according to TMZ, fisticuffs will ensue on June 12 at the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City.
“It’s gonna be a war, man. It’s gonna be a knockout. There’s no doubt,” Celebrity Boxing huckster Damon Feldman told TMZ. “After seeing [Odom] training, he was training down there with the same guy that trains Kevin Hart and he was training good. [...] His comeback is gonna be phenomenal. Same with Aaron Carter.”
The multi-platinum recording artist sounds equally enthused about collecting his paycheck for the three-round exhibition match.
“I’m really excited to be fighting Lamar Odom,” he said in a video posted by TMZ. “This is a crazy match up. It’s like David and Goliath.”
This isn’t exactly the Yao Ming versus Odom bout I was clamoring for, but it’s a spectacle nonetheless. And I love a good train wreck as much as anyone else, but considering the personal struggles of both parties likely factoring into their decisions to participate, I think I’m gonna pass on this one.