Ballers can be lyricists

Athletes are often thought of as being narrow-minded, and unable to perform multiple tasks that are not sports related. Despite the stereotypes, it has been proven by numerous athletes, they are capable of doing more.

Whether it’s opening a new restaurant, staring in a motion picture or any number of other moneymaking ventures, many athletes have displayed proven versatility.

In 2003-2004, the Florida A&M University men’s basketball team found much success. Junior guard, Jonathan Kelly helped contribute to the Rattlers achievements, and he believes the Rattlers can continue its success this season.

“Last season we started off not performing that well, but as the season progressed we came together as a team and played to our maximum potential,” said Kelly, a broadcast journalism student from Tallahassee. “This upcoming season our intentions are to pick up where we left off.”

Kelly isn’t only an athlete, but he’s musically inclined as well. At age five he began playing the piano, and in the ninth grade he discovered that he was good at writing music.

“I write my lyrics like I’m writing poetry,” Kelly said. “Whatever I’m feeling at the time is what I write, I’m not trying to get a record deal or nothing I just write for fun.”

Kelly commented that in high school he and his friends would compete to see who was able to construct the best lyrics during the duration of a day.

Kelly spent time in New Jersey with his cousin, Chris Johnson, this past summer. Musical talent is something that may run in their family, because the 20-year-old student is a beat maker and songwriter. Johnson allowed Kelly to use his music equipment, and he took full advantage.

“The hard work that he puts into his basketball goes hand and hand with the work he do off the court,” Johnson said.

Kelly isn’t the only FAMU student who’s interested in making music.

Joseph Ward also sees himself as a versatile student-athlete.

“I’ve always been into sports, especially football,” said Ward, 20, a junior from Tallahassee, who participates in the intramural football league. “I used to think I wanted to be the next Deion Sanders.

Motivated in 1997 by a class project, Joseph had to remix the hit “Been Around The World.”

“I’d classify myself as being versatile,” Ward said. “I’m a versatile rapper, I just go with how I feel at the time. If I’m mad you may get that G-stuff, and if I’m in a good mood you may get the Rico Suave type stuff.”

College for some students is an alternative and not there main focus.

“In five years I see myself making music that anyone can groove too,” Ward said. “From Little Red Riding Hood to Snoop Dogg, anyone will be able to pop in my CD and bob his or her head. Someone will have found this diamond in the ruff, and Tallahassee will be on the map through me.”

Even though athletes are sometimes viewed as “dumb jocks”, athletes on FAMU’s campus are trying to dispel that stereotype.

“Student-athletes are not dumb jocks, we possess many other talents,” Ward said. “We are great students first and good athletes second. We shouldn’t be titled as being athletes who attends FAMU. We should be titled FAMU students who play sports.”

Contact Sabraaj Sabree at