Many people switch careers throughout their lives, which can make for some interesting stories later on.
Alonzo “Zo” Carter is currently an assistant football coach for the San Jose State Spartans in California. He’s trained and mentored countless student athletes, which often means his previous job in the hip-hop industry goes unnoticed. But not always!
You may not recognize Zo’s face, but you’ll definitely recognize his dance moves. Back in 1989, he and a few of his college friends auditioned for a music video on a whim. The song? MC Hammer’s still-unknown classic, “Let’s Get It Started.”
They were hired on the spot and soon went on tour with him! As the summer came to an end, Zo assumed he’d return to college to finish his degree and reclaim his spot on the football team, but MC Hammer started taking over the airwaves. Zo had a huge decision to make — and ultimately joined MC Hammer as a permanent backup dancer!
For the next three years, he toured the world as part of the rapper’s entourage. He danced at the Grammys, the MTV Video Music Awards, the American Movie Awards, and even “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” But Zo couldn’t shake his passion for football. He eventually left the group to return to his high school in Oakland, California, where he began coaching track and football.
Decades later, Zo is one of the most well-known and respected college football coaches and doesn’t call much attention to his hip-hop beginnings. But at a training practice in 2017, a familiar song started playing over the PA system.
Head coach Brent Brennan had caught wind of Zo’s awesome past and wanted him to show off his moves. “Next thing you know, it’s ‘U Can’t Touch This,'” Zo laughed. “I was like, ‘Aw, man. He put me on front street.'”
In the video, we can see that without missing a beat, Zo dives in and starts doing the iconic Hammer Dance he helped create all those years ago. The moves come to him as easily as they did back in the day, and his players obviously can’t get enough of his impressive talent.
“We choreographed that routine over 25 years ago, and it’s still strong,” he said later, surprised by how natural the impromptu performance felt.
The college posted the video on social media, and it went viral. We can’t say we’re surprised. Zo’s still got it!
How cool is this coach? It’s not everyday you run into someone who has hung out with Tupac Shakur and shaken Oprah Winfrey’s hand. But Zo is also a good reminder of how surprising career paths can be. Just think what would have happened if he hadn’t gone to that audition! The Hammer Dance wouldn’t exist as we know it, which would be a real tragedy.
Watch Zo delight his college athletes in the video below, and don’t forget to share.
— San José State Football (@SanJoseStateFB) April 8, 2017
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