By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Meek Mill has “made it” in the music world. Dion Waiters has “made it” in the basketball world. And both are coming back to where they came from, Philadelphia, to show others how to make it too.
The Dream Chasers Summit is August 30th at Temple University, and will feature a number of people who have had success in both music and sports, as well as the business of both, to show others the path to success.
Waiters, a 2012 NBA Lottery Pick who is a key part of the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Meek Mill, whose Dreams and Nightmares debuted at #2 on the Billboard albums chart, are leading the charges for the summit. They know each other from hanging out in the same Philadelphia neigborhood.
“It was both of our idea, mainly,” Meek said Tuesday. “Philadelphia, we’ve never really had no things, no summits, where you could get a lot of information about what’s going on, know what I’m saying? You know, a lot of these kids, they’re growing up, trying to get involved in that business, you know, we’re just trying to educate them, to let them know what it takes to be involved in these types of activities.”
Music mogul, and one time NBA hopeful Master P will speak at the summit, as well as the Sixers’ Thaddeus Young, and Maalik Wayns, who spent time with the Sixers and Clippers last year. New guests are being added daily.
As long as the two have been around, musicians have wanted to be athletes, and athletes have tried their hand at music. In Philadelphia alone, Allen Iverson, Dana Barros, DeSean Jackson and Lou Williams have released rap songs.
“I think it’s easier for a ball player to rap, than a rapper to play ball,” Mill said. “Rapping you can just come with that. You grow up listening to rap, you can just do it.”
“You can just come up with anything these days,” Waiters said. “Get somebody to come up with a crazy beat and just spit something. Basketball is every day, three or four times a day, working out as far as swimming, pulling trucks. All these crazy things you have to do with basketball.”
Waiters is happy with the Cavs off-season so far, including the interaction he’s had so far with new coach Mike Brown. Andrew Bynum is now a Cav, but Waiters said that he hasn’t yet been bowling with the seven-foot center.
“Everybody thinks it’s easy, but it’s really hard,” Waiters said of making it to the NBA. “But once you get past those stepping stones, put the right people around you, the right people who have really got your back, then you can be successful. First and foremost, believe in yourself.”
One of the biggest stories, maybe the biggest story in rap music today is a verse by Kendrick Lamar on a just-released Big Sean song called “Control.” Kendrick’s lyrics seem to “call out” many of today’s biggest rappers, including Meek Mill.
“It definitely wasn’t insulting. It was like me playing Dion one-on-one in basketball. I’d tell you ‘Dion, I’m going to slam on you. I’m going to cross you over, I’m going to give you 30 points today,” Mill said. “Kendrick Lamar, I don’t think he was trying to insult any of us, you know. We all know each other personally.”
“It’s like a sport,” Waiters said. “I look at it like, that’s motivation, as far as like, he said your name, that means you’re dong something. If he didn’t say your name… You’ve got to look at it like me going against Kobe. I’m trying to kill him. ”
“There were a lot of names that weren’t mentioned,” Mill said. “I like those type of games. I definitely don’t think it was an insult. It was a competition thing. A competitive type thing. I live for competition. Everyone who knows me knows I don’t want to lose in a game of nothing. I don’t want to lose in a game of tic-tac-toe. I’m not going to make a diss record for Kendrick Lamar. But if he wants to get competitive, we’re going to have some fun.”
Even though Mill’s number one focus is his music, he still thinks he can take Waiters on the court.
“Jump shots, I think I have a good jump shot,” Mill said. Better than Waiters? “I think my jump shot is better than everybody’s.”
“Work harder than anybody you’ve ever seen, that was my motto,” Mill said. “I’m sleepy right now, I’ve been rapping all night.”
He might have to spend some nights shooting if he wants to beat Waiters.
You can find out the list of speakers at the Dream Chasers summit, and buy tickets at the official website.
Follow Spike on Twitter @SpikeEskin