Erica McCall has wanted to be an entertainer her entire life.
The third-year forward for the Indiana Fever of the WNBA grew up performing in front of friends and family.
Then earlier this month, McCall got word that country music star Carrie Underwood was having a contest for a lucky winner to perform the verses by Atlanta-based rapper Ludacris during Underwood’s performance of her hit song “The Champion” on stage during her stop Sunday night in Indianapolis.
McCall said she submitted her audition tape a few weeks back, but it wasn’t until last Friday that the Bakersfield native and four-time BVarsity All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year at Ridgeview found out she won the contest to perform live with Underwood.
“We knew she was coming to town and knew she had a contest to be able to rap on stage with her,” McCall said. “I was hyped.”
McCall has been a standout in basketball since her prep days as a four-time BVarsity All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year at Ridgeview where she was the Gatorade California Player of the Year in 2013. Then she starred at Stanford for four seasons and also played basketball professionally in Hungary during the WNBA offseason.
All of that time on the basketball stage left McCall at ease all day Sunday leading up to her time to shine.
“I wasn’t nervous all day then I had to wait until 10 p.m. to perform,” McCall said. “Then I was under the stage, and that’s when I got really nervous and tense. Then they rose me up to the stage.”
“It felt really natural. I do a lot of family talent shows,” McCall said. “I felt like I was back home.”
McCall’s performance was captured on video and shared over many social media platforms and national media outlets.
The nearly two minute-long clip of McCall performing has been made the rounds over social media.
McCall also has been praised for her performance by Underwood herself on her Instagram page stating, “Indianapolis was incredible tonight! I had an especially great time singing #TheChampion with Erica McCall … She crushed it! Special thanks to Erica and her teammates for the support! You ladies are true inspirations and I will forever be in your corner!”
McCall said Underwood now follows her on Twitter.
“That was awesome,” McCall said. “Then it was incredible knowing that a celebrity like that is following me. It’s crazy.”
McCall’s mother, Sonya, was in the crowd to watch her perform.
McCall still has years left her basketball career, which includes a road game at Atlanta on Wednesday. But she has said she wants to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. She’s not sure it’s going to be in the rap game, but it doesn’t hurt to have this opportunity.
“That’s what I want to pursue when ball is done,” McCall said. “This was a big stepping stone for me to be able to perform in front of big crowds. Entertaining others is what I want to do.”