Cavs Quartet Rocks Out with Boys and Girls Club
Cavalier players perform in front of raucous crowds every night at The Q. They heard that “Cleveland Rocks” before they ever put on a Cavs uniform, and now they’ve heard it for themselves. And after home victories, they hear the arena blasting that iconic anthem of the same name.
On this past Monday, a quartet of Cavaliers – Jarrett Jack, Carrick Felix, Henry Sims and Earl Clark – joined 30 students from the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland to dig a little deeper – taking a journey through time as they toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, particularly the exhibits featuring African-American artists and their contribution to Rock and Roll.
Monday’s outing was the second stop on the “Continuing the Dream” tour, part of the Cavaliers’ annual Black Heritage Celebration presented by State Farm and in honor of Black History Month.
(The first stop on the tour celebrated baseball legend Jackie Robinson and had Dion Waiters hosting students from the Cleveland Baseball Federation in the Visitor’s Clubhouse at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, to view the film “42.”) Learn More and View Photos
The kids were almost as interested in their Cavalier co-hosts as they were with some of the exhibits – with one trio of young boys peppering Earl Clark with hoops questions through most of the tour. But it’s tough to blame the young dudes. They’ve seen Clark dunk on TV and Jarrett Jack is around the age of their teachers. Mick Jagger, on the other hand, just became a great-grandfather in 2014. (And I don’t mean “great” in that he’s Mick Jagger and he’s somebody’s grandfather.)
The Cavaliers players themselves were awed by some of the exhibits and their cultural importance.
“I think it meant a lot,” explained rookie Carrick Felix. “(The kids) got a chance to see the history of music, especially the African-American part of it, and where it began. It was the roots of rock, the beginning of something great and it spawned what they’re listening to now – the Chris Browns, the Rihannas, the Jay-Zs. They got to see where it originated from.
“And for us, it was great to get out and see something different – to get away from basketball for a little bit. Just to be around those kids and experience the same thing, it was really good for us.”
Felix, who played a little bass guitar and drums as a youngster, got to see some artifacts donated from a few of his favorite artists. (Later admitting that he had to take a photo of Michael Jackson’s glove.)
“I would say my favorite artist right now is Kanye West,” said Felix. “But I like everything: some Bob Marley, Al Green, Michael Jackson, the Ohio Players. I listen to a little Elvis now and then. But I just love music – anything that sounds good.”
Jarrett Jack didn’t play any instruments when he was younger, but he’s thinking about piano lessons in the offseason. Looking at some of the outfits on exhibit, Jack couldn’t help but notice how small some of the performers were.
“I guess, normally, when you go outside when you’re seven or eight, you don’t say, ‘Hey, let’s go play the piano’ or ‘let’s go practice our rap,’” said Jack. “It’s always, ‘Let’s go play football’ or ‘let’s go play basketball.’ Then when they get older, they might not have met the ‘physical’ requirements.
“But I’d say it turned out OK for them.”
At age 30, Jack was the senior Cavalier on the tour. But he was still amazed by some of what are now considered “artifacts” – things like cassette tapes, vinyl albums and boomboxes.
“Albums, 45’s, that’s a little before me,” laughed Jack. “Sonically, I don’t hear the difference. But a friend of mine, all he listens is vinyl – and I’m talking about current stuff to back in the day.”
Henry Sims is only 23 years old, but he still remembers an artifact or two.
“I remember growing up, I had a boombox that I would take everywhere,” smiled Sims. “I’m not too young for a boombox! I was probably like, 11 or 12, my sister gave me her boombox when she moved out, and I took that thing everywhere. We’d go the courts and I’d have it on my shoulder. And even to this day, I fall asleep with music on."
What about vinyl?
“No, I have never had a record in my life,” admitted Sims. “But my mom used to have a bunch of those.”
Each Cavalier player took a group of five to six students with them on the tour that chronicled the early influences of gospel music and rhythm and blues; the Motown era and musical renaissance in Detroit; and spotlighted legendary artists such as Mahalia Jackson, Muddy Waters and Michael Jackson.
Monday’s tour was a memorable experience for the youngsters from the Boys and Girls Club – an afternoon with their basketball idols in Cleveland’s world-renown Hall of Fame and Museum on the lake.
But it was also a meaningful afternoon for the tallest kids on the tour.
“I was kind of taken aback by a lot of this stuff,” concluded Henry Sims. “I'm really big on lyrics, and the lyrics here – they had a Muddy Waters display with some of his lyrics. Al Green, some of his lyrics. It’s mind-blowing. It’s as personal as you can get. It’s more personal than a shirt or a guitar. This is the artist’s actual thoughts in his own handwriting. This is him or her – all right there on a piece of paper. That was my favorite thing about the Hall.
On Monday afternoon, thirty students and four Cavaliers got the message one more time: Cleveland Rocks – loud and clear.