Former NBA forward Lamar Odom and ex-Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis took center stage on the 28th season of the ABC series Dancing with the Stars on Monday.
Both men have the opportunity to become the 10th athlete to win the series and the first since Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon in Season 26, but they both have their work cut out for them after their opening performances.
Dancing the fox trot to "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone, Odom earned 11 points out of a possible 30 for his performance with Peta Murgatroyd. He received two scores of three and one of five, placing the two-time NBA champion last in the 12-person field.
Lewis and Cheryl Burke did the salsa to Nelly's "Hot in Herre" and earned a 15 (three scores of five) for their efforts. The Pro Football Hall of Famer is tied for eighth.
Jennifer Drysdale of Entertainment Tonight wrote that Odom earned one of the lowest scores in the series' history before offering more insight:
"The 6'10" Odom had trouble following his elegant partner around the ballroom, earning brutal comments from Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. Carrie Ann Inaba offered some kind words to Odom, noting she sees the opportunity for improvement throughout the season—but at the end the day, the numbers did the talking."
In fairness to Odom, he faced an uphill climb in this competition because of a learning curve.
"For me there is no comparison," Odom told Jessica Vacco-Bolanos of Us Weekly when asked to compare basketball versus dancing. "One comes naturally to me and one I have to learn."
He also told Vacco-Bolanos that "DWTS is harder."
As for Lewis, the ex-middle linebacker donned the colors of his former team during his performance. Former NFL defensive end and DWTS alum DeMarcus Ware was present to support Lewis:
Neither man is eliminated from the competition yet, but one celebrity will be going home after the series' first elimination night on Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
Other notable contestants include Supremes singer Mary Wilson, The Bachelorette's Hannah Brown and former United States Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Former Dawson's Creek star James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater won the night with a 21, tangoing to Imagine Dragons' "Whatever It Takes."