Can Bow Wow Match Basketball's Top Dog At The Box Office?

Young rapper's 'Like Mike' opens July 3.

Bow Wow possesses the hoop skills of basketball legend Michael Jordan in

"Like Mike," but can the artist formerly known as Lil' Bow Wow muster enough

movie magic to perform like Mike at the box office?

In his first lead role, the pint-sized rapper stars as Calvin Cambridge, an

orphan who joins the NBA after discovering an old pair of sneakers with the

initials "M.J." written inside them. The worn-out shoes allow him to run,

jump, shoot and dunk like Jordan.

(Click here for photos.)

The basketball legend made his own leap to the big screen in 1996 with

"Space Jam," a flick that coupled contemporary NBA stars with classic Warner

Bros. cartoon characters. "Like Mike," somewhat similarly based in the realm

of fantasy, is also stuffed with real-life NBA hoopsters.

"I had a lot of fun working with the basketball players," Bow Wow said.

"Having the opportunity, working with people who I admired and looked up

[to] growing up on basketball — it was a blessing to be on the same

court with them."

Despite having the expertise of stars like Allen Iverson, Alonzo Mourning

and Gary Payton on hand, Bow Wow didn't seek their advice.

"No pointers," he said. "I knew what I was supposed to do. I got my own

game."

Jordan's flick went on to make $140 million internationally. Can Bow Wow imitate

"Space Jam"'s success with "Like Mike"? Audiences will answer that question

once the movie opens July 3.

Whatever happens, the teen star plans to stay focused on both films and

hip-hop, carefully avoiding any distractions that might deter his career

path.

"No girlfriends right now," he said. "I would lose my focus. I have to stay

focused on what I do. If I had a girlfriend it would throw me off. I

wouldn't be paying attention to none of this — I'd be worried about

her."