Hip-Hop and the NBA

A look at the music careers of some our favorite NBA players.

From the hardwood courts to recording studios, these NBA players have made brief careers out of their hip-hop passions.

 

The connection between hip-hop and basketball has never been any closer. It’s everywhere. From commercials to pre-game motivation tunes, the basketball player’s dominant choice of music has and always will be, hip-hop.

 

It was perhaps inevitable that numerous NBA players have tried their hand at recording their own rap music. Sometimes these songs can be good, while others are better left unheard. Here are five NBA stars that tried their luck at musical careers.

 

TONY PARKER

 

 Apart from his usual court brilliance, it was fun to see the other side of Tony Parker.

 

Who would’ve thought the French point guard could spit bars? Not to mention he’s playing for one of the most conservative teams in the league. When the San Antonio Spurs were on top of the basketball world after winning the ’07 title, Tony Parker thought he could take his name an inch higher by releasing a rap album entitled TP.

 

The six-time All-Star rapped mostly in French, but that didn’t stop the Spurs from grooving to his beats. In fact, during one of their championship parades, the team forced Parker to freestyle in front of the whole crowd.

 

SHAQUILLE O’NEAL

The big fellow also took the big stage with his rap hits.

 

The great thing about Shaq was his character on the court. Dominant, scary, and full of force, he was a player built to score automatically and waive off defenders. But another thing about Shaq was how entertaining he was off the court as well. Before his career at NBA on TNT, the former MVP stood behind a different microphone.

 

In 1993, O’Neal would then show the world his rapping skills by releasing Shaq Diesel. Two things: the album went on to hit #25 on the Billboard 200, the album also went platinum.

 

DAMIAN “Dame D.O.L.L.A” LILLARD

Dame D.O.L.L.A. made his first claim to fame after showcasing his ability to freestyle on a morning radio show.

 

Don’t let the vintage rap moniker fool you. Like his exceptional hoop skills, Portland’s Damian Lillard has shown some impressive potential in his hip-hop career, introducing the world to his smooth rhymes while guesting on radio show Sway In The Morning.

 

Lillard comes off as a cool cat whenever he’s behind the microphone, with style similarities to Lupe Fiasco and Common.

 

LEBRON JAMES and KEVIN DURANT

Apparently, two of the NBA’s biggest giants made trips to the recording studio as well. During the infamous lockout in 2011, The King and KD went off to collaborate and produce on what was a secret track. It’s been six years since they created the single, but fans are only hearing leaks of the track today.

 

We haven’t seen much of LeBron’s attempt to rap so far, but KD has released a number of songs since 2011, including Worried About Tomorrow, where he raps about being humble when everyone is obsessed with the spotlight.

 

KOBE BRYANT

The Black Mamba spent thousands of hours perfecting his basketball craft, and then some on his music career.

 

He’s known by for his on-court savvy and killer instincts, but in 1998, the Black Mamba decided to try his hand at rapping, releasing a handful of songs with the likes of Destiny’s Child and Brian McKnight.

 

That same year, he recorded the album, K.O.B.E., which featured stars like 50 cent, Nas, and even Tyra Banks as featured performers. Although the album was scrapped by his record label after hearing a couple of songs, we still have his legendary on-court talent to help us pretend his brief rapping career never happened.

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