BY Julian Yap Joe Nin

Rashad Jennings.

Ryan Lochte.

Antonio Brown.


Aside from being some of the biggest names in the world of sports, what do they all have in common?

Believe it or not, they all competed on ABC’s Dancing with The Stars!

For those of you who are not familiar with the show, here’s a little bit on what the show is about.

It is an American dance competition television series where a celebrity gets paired with a professional dancer. They then, perform a predetermined dance against other couples weekly in front of a live audience, to score judges’ points and earn audience votes.

Each week, the couple who receives the lowest total combined score of the two will be eliminated until the last remaining dance pair is crowned the ‘Mirrorball Champion’.

Dancing with the Stars, Season 24 promotional poster // People

The new season just premiered on Monday this week and if it is not obvious already, I am a massive fan of the show, which is why I am writing about it.

Correct that.

An AVID fan that gets beyond excited, every time the show comes up on TV.

My best friend, Casey can validate that – her Facebook wall and inbox is constantly full of content from Dancing with the Stars that I sent.

Yes, this is very true.

I would even have watching parties with my friends John, Andrea, Katherine, Amanda and Tanita at my house. Sometimes, we’d even take on the role of the judges scoring each couple after their dance and see if it matches the broadcasted score.

It only gets better from here.

Casey and I at the Dancing with the Stars live taping

I completely flipped out and probably, had heart palpitations when I found out last year, that I scored tickets to attend the live taping of the show here in Los Angeles at CBS Studios, located by The Grove.

It was honestly, one of the best nights of my life – especially after I got to personally meet and have a short exchange conversation with my favourite pro dancer on the show, PETA MURGATROYD!

I just love her.

Again, Casey can confirm all of that.

Right, enough of my fanboying.

What does all this have to do with sports?

This show has got me thinking.

I can’t help but wonder why athletes especially major names like Jennings, Lochte and Brown would sign up to be on a dancefloor.

Aren’t they already busy enough training to be the best at what they do?

Here’s why I think athletes do it.

Either they’re in big trouble.

And I mean, SERIOUS trouble.

They need to regain the trust of the public and rebuild their tainted brand image.

This is perhaps, the most obvious reason why Lochte became one of the 12 contestants to compete on Dancing with the Stars last season.

Cheryl Burke and Ryan Lochte’s first dance, the foxtrot // E!Online

If you do not already know the deep mess Lochte was in, read up about it on here.

On the Ellen show, Lochte claimed that he signed up to be on the show before everything that happened in Rio.


I do not believe a word of that.

I mean, come on.

As if, he needs to tell another lie.

But hey, he had to do what he’s got to do in order to savour what is left of him.

This guy has clearly been media trained to say all those things, to appear apologetic so that America can forgive and restore their love for him as one of ‘America’s most beloved’ athletes.

Their golden boy.

And of course, there was no surprise when he got paired with professional dancer Cheryl Burke – one of the country’s favourite and best pros on the show.

Just in general, Dancing with the Stars is a very positive show too – it really is meant for celebrities to use dance as a way to rediscover themselves and find out who they are as individuals after falling off the wagon, losing their way.

Judges Carrie Anne Inaba, Len Goodman, Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli // Wetpaint

If you look at the big picture, it all seems very logical why Lochte swapped his goggles for a pair of dancing shoes.

Let’s move onto Antonio Brown.

One of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

Not to mention, the highest paid wide receiver – he just recently signed a new five-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers through the 2021 season.

This contract is a four-year extension that is worth a staggering $68 million alongside the annual price tag of $17 million.

Talk about his net worth as an athlete.

Sharna Burgess and Antonio Brown on Dancing with the Stars // Black Sports Online

His reason to be on Dancing with the Stars?

Up till this day, still a little bit of a blur to me.

He finished the competition in fourth place overall, which is quite remarkable to say the least, given how he started out being one of the average dance couples.

It was offseason in the NFL.

Training for his weekly performance on Dancing with the Stars was probably his first REAL football workout in months.

Brown, maybe went on this show to fill his spare time.

To challenge himself in a big way by trying something new that he has not done before.

To pick up a new skill.

Good for him.

At least, he’ll be in great shape when the new season of the NFL starts up again in autumn or as Americans call it, ‘the fall’.

Let’s talk about another big star in the NFL.

Rashad Jennings.

Emma Slater and Rashad Jennings doing the cha-cha on their first night to Bruno Mars ’24K Magic’ // Rashad Jennings Twitter

An American professional football running back, who is currently a free agent going into his ninth year in the NFL.

He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft. In addition, he also played one season for the Oakland Raiders in 2013 before signing with the New York Giants in 2014.

Unfortunately, he was let go by the Giants in February this year due to salary cap cuts and presumably, having underperformed during the games in 2016 – finished with 270 fewer yards in that year compared to 863 in 2015 along with injuries causing him to miss three games early in the year.

However, he remains very confident that he will be back with the Giants for his fourth season.

Let’s see.

But, you’d know what?

He might as well switch from playing in the NFL to dancing in the ballroom.

Have you seen his performance on Monday night?

Here, take a look. 

This guy has got some serious moves up his sleeve!

He killed it! He certainly did Bruno Mars proud.

He is a major contender to win this entire season of Dancing with the Stars.

But, let’s not jinx it.

He may have been let go by the Giants and that must have been really difficult for him to experience this temporary setback in his football career.

Unlike Brown who is very much active in the NFL roster, Jennings needs to keep his name alive.

Dancing with the Stars might be him taking a break from football or IN FACT, is a strategic move on his part to stay relevant and not be forgotten amongst the public.

We’ll never know.

These are all just my thoughts.

They could be right. They could be wrong.

But, ONE THING I am sure of is that I could have never imagined him dancing like THAT.

Those hips and footwork are solid, especially for an NFL player.

Let’s see how far he goes!

My guess is, he will probably make it till the very end of the show.

He has got passion, dedication and determination – traits I do believe every great athlete should have, which makes them not just great but the BEST at what they do!

On an interesting note, Dancing with the Stars is currently in its 24th season.

My baby sister turns 20 today on the 24th of March.

A coincidence?

I don’t think so.

My sister Celine and I at LA’s Universal Studios last Christmas

I am going to take this time to wish my little sister a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY all the way here from LA to London!

Peace out.


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