Hip-hop and the NBA have always had a strong connection. Hip-hop’s finest frequently hang out with the NBA’s best, with Kendrick Lamar even paying tribute to the great Kobe Bryant by performing Scoop Jackson’s “Fade to Black.” While many NBA players are undoubtedly fans of hip-hop, some players have taken their passion for music a step further and released their own tracks. And a few are quite good at it. The following four, though, could [maybe] give hip-hop a good shot.
(IMAGE CREDIT: @damianlillard)
Lillard, a.k.a Dame D.O.L.L.A., is the rap king of the NBA (sorry, Shaq). Dame already has three albums: The Letter O in 2016, Confirmed in 2017, and Big D.O.L.L.A. this year. These albums show Lillard’s artistic growth, as each is better than its predecessor. No wonder Interview Magazine hails Dame as the rapper who happens to be an NBA superstar. And Dame isn’t stopping anytime soon. “I think over time,” Lillard told Interview Magazine, “even if I’m not considered the best, people will remember that Dame was a real rapper…”
Damian Lillard – “Church”
Marvin Bagley III
(IMAGE CREDIT: @mb3five)
Just before the 2018 NBA Draft, Bagley — a.k.a. MB3FIVE — showed he had some serious flow not only on the court, but also in the studio. He released “Thoughts in the A,” and introduced himself as the NBA’s rap-prince-in-the-making. And he is dead serious about this. “I take it serious,” Bagley explained to The Undefeated’s Marc Spears. “… I really study music and rappers like Tupac and the rappers before us. I just try to learn as much as I can and get better…” Given this commitment, it’s likely Bagley will be a prominent player in the music industry — good enough to maybe give Dame DOLLA some competition.
Marvin Bagley III – Look at Me Now
(IMAGE CREDIT: @kingjames)
The King is a man of many talents. He is a basketball savant, and it has brought him great fame and even greater fortune. LeBron is number 2 on Ladbrokes’ list of the highest earning sports stars, with a yearly salary around the $80 million mark. But he’s getting on in years, and might soon retire. If so, a career in hip-hop is in play. LeBron is a good rapper, and he actually recorded a track way back in 2011 with Kevin Durant. A Vice long-form post about this mysterious song notes that “It Ain’t Easy” is a decent track, but was left unreleased. Sound engineer Franky Stewart speculates that LeBron’s management initially didn’t want the track released, fearing it would make him “seem less of a superstar in the public eye.” The song isn’t perfect. But it shows LeBron’s hip-hop potential.
LeBron James Ft. Kevin Durant – “It Ain’t Easy”
(IMAGE CREDIT: @easymoneysniper)
As mentioned above, Durant a.k.a. Sniper Jones, also has hip-hop potential, and is a lot smoother with his bars than The King. Early this decade, in fact, Durant released multiple tracks, notably “The Formula,” “Wired,” and “Worried about the Future.” Granted Durant has slowed down with the releases these past few years. But the talent is definitely there. So, don’t be surprised if Durant releases something soon.
Kevin Durant – Freestyles Over Jay Z/Kanye “What You Need”