Calvin Cambridge (Lil’ Bow Wow), a 13-year-old orphan, dreams of playing professional basketball and being adopted. But Calvin has two strikes against him – he’s only four-foot-eight, and no one wants to adopt a 13-year-old. When he finds a pair of used sneakers with the faded initials “MJ” inside, Calvin senses great things are about to happen. And they do. Whenever he wears those special sneakers on the basketball court, no one can stop him. At an NBA game, the young player wins a chance to show his stuff during half-time, and the rest is history.
Calvin becomes an NBA star overnight, traveling with his favorites, the Los Angeles Knights team. The Knights’ coach assigns Tracey Reynolds (Morris Chestnut), one of his star players, to watch over young Calvin. But Tracey, a loner estranged from his own family, resents baby-sitting the pesky little kid who bounces off the walls with excitement and energy. You don’t have to be a basketball fan to like “Like Mike,” but if you are, this gem will knock your socks off with appearances by some of the NBA’s best. It’s an uplifting, funny and delightful fantasy “CinderFella” story for the whole family.
“Like Mike” is not really a basketball story – it’s about the plight of older children trapped in orphanages or foster homes with little hope for adoption into a family. But Calvin and his fellow orphans are “family” and that family feels threatened when Calvin becomes famous. Instead of being bitter and rebellious about his circumstances, Calvin shows compassion and respect for all and even forgives the house bully who picks on him unmercifully. It’s also the story of a lonely professional athlete who seems to have it all, but learns through a 13-year-old orphan that his priorities are all messed up. Calvin even insists that Tracey kneel with him for bedtime prayers. A few crude words and a slang term for urination are barely noticeable and, except for some pushing and shoving, violence is almost non-existent. Although Tracey does bring his date to a hotel room he shares with Calvin, any chance Tracey might have for romance is quickly sabotaged. Refreshingly free of offensive material, this can be a family entertainment night.