This year it might be a little harder to wish your mom a happy Mother’s Day. Sure, you can Zoom or Facetime, but if you really want to make Mother’s Day special, maybe you can enlist some help. How? Get your mom’s favorite Wolverine to send her a greeting on Cameo.
Cameo is a website that allows you to buy videos from various celebrities. While the website takes a broad view of what counts as a “celebrity”, it’s become a haven for athletes to connect with their fans and make some extra cash. You might recall that before he officially announced that he was entering the draft, Jordan Poole tipped his hand by joining Cameo.
You give the person recording the video a prompt, so you can make sure they know you’re getting the gift for a Michigan fan. It also tells you each athlete’s typical response time, so while its some guys who usually have longer response times may record a batch in time for Mother’s Day, for some of them you might be cutting it a little close. Jimmy King’s response time is usually about three hours, while Jake Butt’s is closer to a week.
It’s a fun last-minute gift for mom, a great way to get a jump on Father’s Day, or just an opportunity to remind your friends that not only are you thinking about them, so is Moe Wagner!
Let’s take a look at which former Wolverines are available for videos.
For many Michigan fans, nothing could be better than getting a personalized message from a Wolverine football player. Cameo has a good number of Harbaugh-era players. Karan Higdon and Khalid Hill both offer brief but heartfelt messages, and they’re both available for $20 or less. Channing Stribling is also listed as available, but none of his past videos are public.
While you can go with one of the low-cost options, I think your best bet for a gift is a recent addition to Cameo: Josh Uche. Still a great value at $40, Uche’s videos are really good. His videos are professional without seeming rehearsed, it’s clear he reads the prompts, and when he thanks the giftee for being a fan he sounds genuinely appreciative.
About as good are the videos from Jake Butt. At $35, his videos typically last at least a minute, and like Uche they always feel genuine. In half of his public videos he’s wearing a Block M hat, which is a plus. He has a seven day average response time though, so it might be a little late to get one for mother’s day.
There are few older alumni. Chris Wormley’s videos are good, but he’s listed as temporarily unavailable. Jarrod Bunch also has a page, but like Stribling he has no sample videos. I’d love to see Denard Robinson or Devin Gardner join. As perhaps the most beloved player in my memory, I bet Denard could clean up sending well wishes to birthdays and bachelor parties.
Cameo really shines with its options for Michigan basketball fans.
You can’t go wrong with Jimmy King. First of all, he begins every video with “This is Jimmy King of the Fab Five,” and if you went with King instead of a younger player, you wanted to hear him say “Fab Five.” Cameo says he typically responds in three hours, which makes him a perfect choice for a last-minute mother’s day gift. And if you watch his sample videos, it’s clear that he will say whatever you ask him to, but if you give him a general prompt he’ll run with it and make it worth your $45.
Of course, there’s plenty of more recent players. Jordan Poole is the most expensive Wolverine on Cameo, at $100. While his videos are a little rote, he makes sure to mention whatever specifics you put in the prompt. He doesn’t in any of his sample videos, but I’m sure if you asked him to talk about The Shot, he would.
Zavier Simpson recently joined the site, and his videos are similar in tone to Poole’s. They’re short, but he has clearly read the prompt. He always mentions the University of Michigan, and thanks the giftee for their support of the Wolverines. At $45, he’s a good value if you’re looking for a younger Michigan player.
If you’re willing to split the difference in price between Poole and Simpson, the best videos of the Beilein-era Wolverines come from Moritz Wagner. At $70, his videos are usually just under a minute. He’s self-deprecating, making fun of his bad quarantine hair and chin fuzz. They’re not the most polished videos, but if you’re a Moe fan that’s probably what you’re going to like about them.
Evan Smotrycz and Max Bielfeldt are also both available. Smotrycz’s videos are very short, and his public videos are mostly aimed at Terps fans. Bielfeldt hasn’t posted a public video in a while, though one of them is weird to Stu Douglass from some fans.
While I was hoping there might be an Olympian with Wolverine connections on Cameo, I couldn’t find one. However, soccer player Francis Atuahene (currently with USL’s San Diego Loyal) is just $15 and his videos are very encouraging if you have a young soccer player.
Finally, Michigan graduate and sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson is happy to put on a Block M hat and either greet the Wolverine in your life or razz a rival, whichever one the gifter chooses.
Cameo has a lot of options for Michigan fans, and if there’s movement on name, image, and likeness rights, that number is sure to explode. If you’re looking for a unique gift, it’s a perfect way to show a Michigan fan that you love that you care. Maybe you can’t get your mom breakfast in bed this year, but waking up to a link to a Josh Uche video is still a pretty good option.