What do you do when seven-time Grammy Award winner Carrie Underwood calls?
If you’re Indiana Fever forward Erica McCall, you rap some lyrics in front of a sold-out Bankers Life Fieldhouse crowd. And you “crush it.”
So it went Sunday for third-year veteran McCall, who spit Ludacris’ guest lines in Underwood’s song “Champion” during the singer’s concert as part of her “Cry Pretty” tour. She joined Underwood on stage and delivered the verses with ease:
The C is for the courage I possess through the drama
H is for the hurt but it’s all for the honor
A is for my attitude working through the patience
Money comes and goes so the M is for motivation
Gotta stay consistent, the P is to persevere
The I is for integrity, innovative career
The O is optimistic, open and never shut
And the N is necessary ’cause I’m never giving up
See they ask me how I did it, I just did it from the heart
Crushing the competition, been doing it from the start
They say that every champion is all about his principles
— Indiana Fever ⛹️♀️🏀 (@IndianaFever) June 17, 2019
In a tweet later, Underwood expressed her approval:
Indianapolis was incredible tonight! I had an especially great time singing #TheChampion with Erica McCall of the @WNBA @IndianaFever !!! She crushed it! Special thanks to Erica and her teammates for the support! You ladies are true inspirations… https://t.co/3ceRwkxHeW pic.twitter.com/wdcF7FcVbg
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) June 17, 2019
Vice president of Fever basketball operations Tamika Catchings suggested McCall compete for the guest spot, so the California native submitted an audition tape. Before Indiana’s game last Thursday, McCall got word she had been selected to perform.
“I had two to three days to get the lyrics down, so I would play them everywhere – in the shower, in the car,” she said. “I kept repeating it until I got it right.”
McCall’s first foray into rap was as a freshman at Stanford, when she was part of the “N-E-R-D-S” video project. She has made singing, rapping and performing at family Christmas parties an annual tradition, but had never performed in front of a large crowd before. Even so, McCall said she was calm before the Underwood show.
“It didn’t start until 10 p.m., so I had a whole day to be nervous,” she said. “But I wasn’t, and I was very surprised.”
With Fever coaches and teammates looking on, McCall stepped on stage and was handed a microphone, and didn’t hesitate once Underwood called her name.
“I was so excited, but my mom was even more excited than me,” McCall said. “She kept replaying the video and calling everyone.”
Monday morning Underwood came to Indiana’s practice to meet the team.
“She’s really cool,” McCall said.