Monday, September 22, 2008

The legend of Bam Bam

Ellen DeGeneres shared the set last week with a guest who might have been all of three-feet tall. His name is Bam Bam. Actually, that's one of the names he goes by. There's also Pretty Boy. And, in a pinch, his given name, Wayne Lawrence.

Bam Bam is a seven-year-old boxer. Ellen quizzed him a bit about his nicknames, his good looks and so on. Then Bam Bam put on the gloves and, working against an adult partner, showed some flashy moves. The kid was absolutely charming and, were I to run into trouble in a dark alley, I'd feel safer with Bam Bam at my side.

That said, there's something disquieting about the marketing and packaging of a boxer two years removed from kindergarten. Ellen is just his latest gig. Bam Bam is emerging as his own multi-media enterprise, featuring a Web site, a Bam Bam documentary and, in his singing career, a new "hit" single, "It's Gonna Get Easier."

From his bio, I learned that this young man comes from "the ruff and tough south side of Toledo, Ohio," that "he's been training since he was 2 yrs old in both boxing and modeling," that he was "born on September 11 2001, right as the second plane hit the south tower on that fateful day of 911," that the adults around him are trying to lift him up and out of difficult circumstances.

I wish them luck. But my gosh, he's 7.

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