Shot Clock: NBA vs. Hip Hop
The NBA wraps up All-Star Weekend tonight when the East stars battle the West stars. Andre Iguodala will represent the hometown Sixers in that one. The game will most likely be meaningless, a high-scoring talent show that will play second fiddle to the Oscars.
But we wanted to incorporate the NBA into today’s Shot Clock offering, so we decided to take 10 of the best players in the league (nine of our 10 are 2012 All-Star selections) and pair them up with the rapper they most remind us of. Some are stretches and some actually make a lot of sense. Anyway, take a look and fire away with feedback — negative or positive.
NBA star: LeChoke James
» They both come off as whiny and egotistical, yet their talent is unmistakable. Drake shines brightest in collab projects (see: Rihanna, Lil Wayne), as does LeBron (see: D-Wade, Bosh). And the fact that the emo rapper laid down the lead track on LeBron’s documentary is bitter irony.
Rapper: Tupac Shakur
NBA star: Kobe Bryant
» Two East Coast boys that forged West and became synonymous with California Love. Both are Hall of Famers, once in a lifetime talents, who can command a verse — or team — all by themselves. Only difference: Kobe, five rings; Tupac, never won a Grammy (how is this tragedy even possible?)
NBA star: Kevin Garnett
» They bark. They yell. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!! Player and rapper love to talk trash – fans, teammates, opponents, doesn’t matter – and both put in their time and endured a lot of lean years before finally striking it rich. Also, welcome back DMX.
NBA star: Kevin Durant
» Durant doesn’t always get the love reserved for LeBron or Kobe, but there are no flaws in his game. He does everything well: pops threes, drives, dunks, rebounds, dominates. Same goes for Nas. His raps are meaningful, his beats are dope and he can kill you on a diss.
Rapper: Ice Cube
NBA star: Blake Griffin
» We’re talking old school Ice Cube, not the fake one doing Coors Light commercials. Ice Cube owned NWA tracks with his hard-hitting lyrics, just like Blake does to Kendrick Perkins and most NBA rims.
Rapper: Kanye West
NBA star: Dwyane Wade
» Kanye and D-Wade are corny. Corny in a good way. They like lavish parties, big sunglasses, runway models and fashion. And they are forever connected with one flow: “In two years Dwayne Wayne became Dwyane Wade.”
Rapper: Talib Kweli
NBA star: Chris Paul
» CP3 might be the NBA’s best true point guard. He’ll get you the ball in tight spots and wants the rock with time running out. Kweli’s soft-spoken flows are equally multi-dimensional. Whether he’s rapping about The Beautiful Struggle or just trying to Get By, Kweli is the total emcee.
NBA star: Dwight Howard
» The gentle giant, aka Superman, is a man-beast on the court for his athletic prowess and off it for his charitable deeds. Common is applauded as much for his complex lyrical content as he is for his community activism. Dwight just has to work on his acting.
NBA star: Derrick Rose
» We’re not comparing ages here, just talent. Rose is a one-man wrecking crew and already drawing very faint comparisons to Michael Jordan. RZA, the de facto leader of Wu-Tang, is an innovator of beats and a terror on the track (see: What’s Goin’ On).
Rapper: Lil’ Wayne
NBA star: Andre Iguodala
» We had to get a Sixer on the list, right? Iggs and Weezy have nothing in common stylistically, but the way they are viewed is almost identical. Philly fans see Andre in the same light true hip hop heads see Wayne — as an overpaid, hype machine or sidekick, not a superstar.
WHAT ABOUT … You might notice that two of the greatest rappers of all-time (at least, in our humble opinion) drew no comparisons. Of course, we’re talking about Notorious BIG and Eminem. Why? Well, we couldn’t make any direct correlations with any current NBA superstars. However, if you want to throw in some retired players, then you could make the following arguments:
Rapper: Notorious BIG
NBA star: Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal
» In terms of his far-reaching influence and pure skill, it’s got to be Michael Jordan. MJ is the unquestioned greatest hoops player of all-time and Biggie is certainly in the conversation when discussing rappers. However, due to his size and overall personality, we can’t help throwing Shaq in the mix. Couldn’t you see him portraying Big in a movie?
NBA star: Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird
» Eminem is one of the most respected emcees to ever grace stage and screen. He’s got the respect and admiration — and hardware, with 13 Grammy awards — of all his peers, even ones that don’t particularly like him. Wilt, a four-time NBA MVP, is generally listed as No. 2, behind Jordan and shared some of Em’s uniqueness. However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that he’s white — and from the Midwest — and not compare him to Larry Bird.