Hustle and Flow. Comparing past and present NBA stars to past and present rappers.
Rap and basketball have grown up together, like Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. Some people love basketball and can't stand rap, some love both, but they are definitely intertwined.
(I have noticed though that most people who enjoy rap also enjoy basketball. Not sure if it is the rhythm of both games or the individuality of both games or what exactly).
So what I am going to do here is compare ballers from the early 80s to present to rappers from the 80s to present. Not just average ballers or rappers. I am including a large chunk of the best ballers of the last forty years and the best rappers ever.
Yes, I will be leaving some people out. There is no rapper comparison that evokes Bill Russell for example. Maybe Elvis rapped some, not sure.
And yes the timelines are mostly right, but not completely. (You will see with Biggie and Dr. Dre- as the Biggie player was actually fifteen years older than the Dre comparison and came first, despite Dre being older as a rapper).
So, starting from the top, literally the best and oldest to newest, in some order.
Biggie Smalls is considered top 5 unanimously and plenty of people consider him to be the best rapper ever.
If you really stop and listen to his flow, cadence, and unique voice, it is difficult to disagree. He is also beloved. Despite having entire songs about murder and banging someone who is dating or married to a basketball player (great song- I Got A Story To Tell), people truly love him. The only knock that people have on Biggie is that Tupac was better. You never ever hear someone say "BIG was overrated"...and if someone does, that person has only heard 2-3 of his songs, and not twenty of them.
He was uber popular and seen in a very good light, really at all times.
His naturally low voice and God-given gift was an amazing combination, and while he definitely worked his ass off (except maybe not on the treadmill) he also just had IT. He was more talented than anyone maybe ever and worked his ass off to hustle be a national icon. Who does that sound like?
Michael Jordan is BIG.
Considered Top 5 by 100% of people and #1 ever by probably more than half of fans, Jordan was an icon who could do no wrong, despite his dark side of gambling, not being a good teammate for 80% of his career, wanting to leave the league at age 26 at one point, and overall just being a too-competitive, near-sociopathic. But they both changed the game forever. "Big Papa" and MJ's shot over the Jazz are two of the most famous events in culture in the last thirty years.
So who did these lovable, talented legends compete with?
Well for starters, MJ didn't have a rival really, so bare with me on this comparison.
When you hear "Biggie" the word "Tupac" is one of the first words that you think of.
Tupac was aggressive, outspoken, funny, thoughtful, charming, and yet made some dumb ass decisions. He was also extremely talented and a really good writer. If Biggie was seen as a king that no one messed with, with some dark mystery behind him (like MJ), Tupac was seen as a maverick, doing his own thing, and his life was well known, as he hung out with celebrities, went to jail a few times, was convicted for a rape, became an actor, took tons of interviews, etc. He was just kookier and more human than BIG. Many people speculate that once he got out of his rebellious rapper phase, he would have been a good or great actor and eventually a director of movies, before Ice Cube did that and before mediocre actors (but good rappers) like TI or Ludacris or Nelly did. Come to think of it, 50 cent and Eminem and Snoop Dogg have starred in movies too...Was Tupac an influence? Hell yes.
Who was an influence on ballers? That is often compared to Jordan?
That is considered top 5-10 ever, like Tupac? That is emotional, human, and was seen as a fun-loving maverick? Magic Johnson.
It is not just the LA connection. They are damn similar. Both unique (Magic was a huge guard who changed the game completely, while Tupac was one of the first true great lyricist- not just rapping about riding around in his car and bumping music- which he definitely did rap about a lot- but also made hits like Dear Mama, Changes, and Brenda's Got a Baby, Keep Ya Head up (lyrics at end of article) and both truly charming likely since they came out of the womb, they are very different from BIG/Michael Jordan.
They wanted to be great, the best ever, but they also wanted to be loved and love everyone. Hell, Tupac regularly flirted with female interviewers, but it didn't seem that creepy, he was just charming and charismatic. Magic Johnson- everyone knows his story with women.
Neither one get credited for being intelligent. But they are/were.
LA legends that some people consider to be #1 of all time.
Here come three more legends that are tied to these two comparisons.
BIG maybe wouldn't be anything without Diddy (Puffy, PDiddy, whatever it is)
Diddy propelled him to the top. Biggie just needed some help.
Diddy is smooth. Can he rap? Eh. He had some good lyrics. But he was not top 20 or anything. But man he could produce and promote, which helped tons.
He has a unique voice and is still relevant, despite his boy BIG being long gone.
Who is this in the NBA? One guy who helped MJ become MJ is Scottie Pippen. Was he an amazing scorer? Kinda, but not an all time scorer. He did the other things, kind of like Diddy. Produce and promote and background stuff, not as noticeable.
BIG and MJ weren't icons without these men.
Plus, tell me that Pippen doesn't have a unique voice! He is still relevant as a commentator and you get the feeling that while hanging out with MJ/BIG would be a surreal experience, and hanging with Tupac/Magic would be plain fun, hanging with Pippen or Diddy would be cool and laid back as hell, wherever you go.
Next are two guys that most people do not consider top 5 ever, and some don't even thing of them top 10.
Physically, they are very different from each other.
Ice Cube was a confident, cocky, talented young gangster rapper. There is no denying that. He was busting lyrics at a young age, then left NWA to do his own thing. He got even cockier and started going in the movie industry. He is still very relevant today, even being a part founder of the BIG 3 league.
Ice Cube isn't seen as a top rapper of all time, and I think it is because 1- he was in a group 2- he did have some off years 3- he got into other areas of business and when he was solo, Tupac and Biggie were huge, then Eminem and others came along in the late 90s.
Who is overshadowed by other stars, secretly top 10 ever in the NBA, super cocky and really just did and said whatever he wanted ?
You think many people listened to Ice Cube once Biggie came along? Not as many! Like Bird and MJ. Bird even called MJ "God disguised as Michael Jordan".
Behind Larry's goofy physical features, he was a killer and a huge trash talker. "Who is getting second place?" he asked when he walked into the locker room of a 3 point contest. Ice Cube would do the same.
Plus, Ice Cube came up big around the same time as Tupac.
Larry Bird became a coach and pushed the MJ-led Bulls to 7 games in the East Finals. They made the Finals two years later and Bird is the only man in NBA history to win the NBA MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. Probably didn't know he was that involved in bball all around, like Ice Cube is with rap, movies, and BIG 3, now did you??
There is one guy on this list that is overrated according to half of people, underrated by the other half. The baller and rapper. The baller was seen as selfish. A copycat. Sociopath. Whiner. Rapist. The rapper was seen as a woman beater. Not as talented as advertised. Needed other talent to find success and stay relevant.
If this doesn't scream DRE and KOBE, not sure what would.
Kobe is unbelievably influential to young players today. Like Dre is to rap.
Both are more passionate about their craft- basketball and music- than maybe anyone else on this list.
Dre seems to love rap and music more than say BIG did. BIG loved life and hanging and women and smoking cigars. Much like Jordan. Dre and Kobe are obsessed, both led the way for a generation of younger talent, both had domestic incidents in the middle of their careers, and are both super super relevant still, with Beats by Dre, and everything Kobe does now (winning Oscars). Again, LA legends that both look up to their Tupac and Magic, respectively.
Who is one of most talented and accomplished rappers ever? Like BIG, naturally talented, hustled his way up, and then BAM was huge and big for really about two decades? This guy is smooth and seems like a fun guy and a guy who cares about more than rap- in fact- he does a lot other than rap, including partly owning an NBA team.
Some people consider him the GOAT, and he is unanimously top 10.
When he was young, he had a solid decade of greatness. Who is this? Jay Z.
Who does this remind you of in the NBA? Talented. Fun. Great. Dominant for a full decade. Does a lot more than basketball. Took the torch when BIG went away, in a way. Like this person did with Jordan.
Shaq. Shaq is Jay Z.
Jay is a top 3 most popular rapper ever, like Shaq with bball. Realistically, as a talent, they are both top 5.
They both own businesses and seem to be guys people genuinely like.
And like I already said, before Eminem and company came on board, they were the best for a decade- basically early 90s to mid 2000s.
Not only do 90%+ of Americans know who Shaq and Jay Z are, but a very large portion can name a song or lyrics to Jay or talk about a play or Hack a Shack or his playig style, regarding Shaq. True, fun icons.
Two other icons are a bit different. They are both seen as part of a unit, a group, and therefore their greatness may not be seen even on the level of say Kobe/Dre.
The rapper is truly top 10 ever. A unique voice, a unique style, a great lyricist, and really good for damn near fifteen years, but really huge for half a dozen.
He was part of a group though, a rap duo. His counterpart was also uber talented, so it was always hard to judge the "wow" factor, though other rappers call out this man as a legend, specifically Eminem.
Hey ya- we talking about Andre 3000.
The baller has five rings- same as Kobe and Magic.
He only lost one Finals, to Lebron. He actually beat Lebron twice in the Finals. His greatness was ended as the Warriors with Curry rose up. Much like Andre kind of disappeared when a certain rapper to be named later came on strong to the scene in the early 2010s.
Tim Duncan always had other huge pieces, like Andre has Big Boi.
He had Pop. He had David. Manu, Tony, even Leonard.
But he was unreal the whole time, consistently going 21/12/3/2 and winning playoff series after playoff series.
Guess how many Conference Finals he co-led his teams to? TEN! He lost four of them, to Kobe, Kobe/Shaq, KD and Russell, then the Super Warriors. All of those losses were to legends. Duncan had a playoff season in 03, in which he AVERAGED 25/15/5/3 blocks on 53% shooting. That is a great standalone game. He averaged that in over 20 playoff games, like a third of a season...
Outkast was nominated for 17 grammies in a dozen years, winning six of them.
So so good. And so so overlooked as top 10.
Now of course you could say that Duncan would not have five rings if he had been on say the Kings. Or that Andre by himself would've been half as popular at the most. And they both are gone now. You don't hear about them AT ALL in the news.
But hey- MJ and BIG had Pippen and Diddy, so "move to the back of the bus"...
This next one is tough. And I'll keep it short. Nas had and has a feud with Jay Z. He is a living legend, and very underrated.
Some would argue he is the most underrated rapper ever.
Some would argue that a basketballer in the 80s and 90s is the most underrated ever and had a four year run of 27/11/4 on 58% FG. For reference, Durant had a crazy stretch of 29/7.5/4 on 49% shooting before joining the Warriors.
This player literally fought Shaq (Jay Z), and even now when you watch them on screen, you can tell they don't LOVE each other, they just respect each other, somewhat.
Charles Barkley tries to make Shaq look dumb alot. Even twenty+ years after they nearly brawled on the court. He is secretly a top 15, maybe ten talent ever, just like that boy Nas. All I need is one mike. Barkely doesn't even need a mike. Just an audience.
The next one is fun. Who is the most intense in their work? A rapper. A baller from the 90s and 2000s. Both really good but known just as much for being really gritty and absolutely Doberman-like. Literally, the rapper barks in his songs. KG is DMX. Both have legit hits (KG is top 20 ever) DMX has literally seven-nine really really good, well known songs. KG has six seasons that are "what the fuck- this guy is just a much longer, slightly less skills Tmac"
Speaking of which...
Who is Tmac?
As a baller, he had a stretch where was legit top 5 in the league. Five year stretch of 28/7/5 and even Kobe himself said that he was the hardest person to guard in his career and that he could literally do everything Kobe could do, but was 3 inches taller. He was cool as hell. He really was. He looked high and like he had just beaten a big video game boss every time he stepped on the court. A smile of accomplishment, a grin of confidence, eyes droopy. Nearly 6'9 and 210 pounds as a legit guard. KD before KD in a sense. Shorter but more coordinated.
Who was the most popular rapper at the same time Tmac was killing it in the early 2000s? Eminem maybe a little. Outcast some. But take off all your clothes and tell me it wasn't Nelly.
Nelly was the coolest, chillest, most fun rapper maybe ever up to that point, in say 2004. PDiddy, Mase, Snoop? Sure, chill and laid back voices and whatnot, but this Nelly dude was killing it. Literally what felt like every six months, a new huge song came out on the radio. For example, in a three year span, the following songs hit the radio: Country Grammar, Ride Wit me, Air Force Ones, #1, EI, Batter Up, Pimp Juice, and Hot in Herre.
I can only say maybe Drake and Eminem have ever had 8 songs that popular in a three year span, and that is really stretching it.
Nelly had a run where he was the best ever. Like few men have ever had a stretch like that. Same with McGrady. And man were they cool.
The next duo, some would argue are cooler than the Nelly-Tmac duo.
One guy was just as popular maybe, and is still going at it on the track, though he acts more now than raps. The baller is still playing, but at one point, was the talk of the league, especially for a 2-3 season stretch. Just seen a BIG OLE ass. Ludacris is Vince Carter. You know that they aren't literally top 10 or even 30. You know that some of the songs suck, that they likely could have been ever better. But you don't ignore the voice, the 45 inch vert. Roll out. The 2000 Dunk Contest. They are just as much as icons as Tmac and Nelly, in a different way. They are more in your face. Ludacris is way more R rated and has a voice that is not common by any means. Vince wouldn't score 44 like Tmac did. He would dunk 13 times and hit some 3s, dramatically. Luda legit has one of the coolest voices in music history, and VC apparently was regarded as one of the best high school players ever, according to Kobe and Lebron. They never hit BIG or Jordan status, but you know what you get with them. When you watch or hear them you punch your fist in the other palm and yell and nod your head. It's heart pumping shit.
While the order is a bit off, there's only one other rapper outside of Eminem and Drake and the other two I just mentioned that had a stretch where it was like "how does this guy have time to make this many hits?"
And that person is Lil Wayne. He was the icon for maybe 6-7 years and could do no wrong. Then, bam, done, not even sure where he is now.
Lil Wayne proclaimed himself to be a top 5 rapper ever. He is not. But his legacy was important, and his hits were huge.
Just like Iverson. AI was something the basketball game hadn't seen. Odd, unique, small, a thug. Like Weezy. They were so odd, almost like made up characters, that I don't know if you can compare anyone to either, ever.
A 5'10 guard that scores 30 ppg? A rapper that repeats himself over and over and laughs, high as hell on the track, but everyone loves it? "Like a lollipop!"
They both just fall off in 2012. It is striking how much they resemble each other.
And while Iverson co-existed with Lebrons greatness for a few years, same with Lil Wayne and Eminem. Additionally, it was Wayne who introduced the world to Drake. Just like Iverson in a way paved the way for a smaller, shoot first guard that would change the league even more than Iverson did. We will get to that later.
Paul Wall baby. Is he white? Is he black? Is he actually kind of good? Doesn't he seem like a guy that would hit on your girlfriend in front of you and shrug it off? Jason Kidd? Or Paul Wall? or both?
This may be insulting, since Paul Wall is not a top 30 rapper ever and Kidd is very likely a top 30 baller ever (12/6/9 career and had a five year stretch of 16/10 with over 2 steals per game and is currently 9th all time in three pointers made).
Personally, when Paul Wall comes on the radio, I keep it on the station and also turn it up, despite knowing he doesn't have skills of BIG or the coolness of Snoop. I still like listening to him. If an old ball game comes on and Kidd is playing, I watch. He was awesome to watch. He wasn't Magic or Jordan or even Nash really, but he was awesome to watch and crafty. Like Paul Wall's constant personification and analogies (Posted up like a mailbox!).
Who is the coolest guy in the league? Right now. Cool meaning you just know that this guy was cool and popular at every age. But not the douche bag athlete cool. Like everyone has always liked this guy. Good looking, laid back, quietly funny, smooth. No, not Lebron. No not Harden. No not Russell.
DWade. Easily. Jordan and Shaq and Tmac were cool (BIG, Jay Z and Nelly), but Dwade is the guy. And who is the guy that just seems like he is cool as heck? Even while playing a hapless character in a Marvel movie? TI!
They are smooth, secretly legends (no one really talks about them as all time greats) and seem like they will be relevant their whole lives, whether its Wade being a broadcaster and/or a GM, or TI acting and directing now that his rapping has slowed down.
TI is like a cooler, less angry, and a little less talented Tupac in a way. Smart, really unique, almost low voice for a smaller person, and Wade is like a smarter, less promiscuous, less talented Magic in a way. TI brought Kanye, Wayne, and Jay Z on a song "Swagger like us" which would be Iverson, Shaq, and TBD, but really, what other rapper/player could make that happen?
And everyone knows when they have collaborated, TI and Eminem's songs have been great. That's All she Wrote, Gone, etc.
Kind of like when Wade was with...
Lebron is Eminem. No doubt. Came from nothing. But from damn near Canada (Detroit and Cleveland areas) Been around for nearly two decades. Both are only becoming more successful (though Em had a solid 5 year quiet stretch and was getting off drugs) Considered top 5 by 95% of people, and some swear they are #1. Definitely some freak talents. Outspoken socially and lately, politically. Eminem has legit 30 hits. If not 50. Lebron has 50 games that are probably in the top 1000 games by an individual. I bet he has 5% of them, if not more really.
And...they know they are great. And they talk about. Eminem lately feels he has to state he is the GOAT. Or that he is right next to Tupac Biggie and Jay Z.
Lebron openly states he is the best in the world and is only chasing the ghost of Jordan. We get it. We get they are cultural icons. But they also want YOU to know. "Full of myself but still hungry. "Cleveland fans are awesome, but I mean, even my family gets spoiled at times watching me doing things that I do, on and off the court."
Yeah...When they both officially retire, you know they won't be done. Lebron will be an owner or buy the entire NBA before he dies, and Eminem will be producing for as long as rap exists (before aliens come and introduce us to better music or something) or everyone realizes that Migos should just make all the music because that style of song is becoming so common.
Really, Eminem and Lebron are shockingly similar. Both have been in movies. Both are one in a generation/lifetime talents who worked very hard and are much more intelligent than most people think. Both had rough starts (people thought Eminem was insane and way too controversial- which he was, Lebron posed as "the Chosen One' on SI and had that whole Hummer situation). The only huge difference is that Eminem was/is a bad bad role model, while Lebron isn't. Lebron is a good one. I guess Eminem's love for his daughter gives him some "nice guy" factor.
And comparing them to Magic/Tupac and Jordan/BIG, it is interesting.
Eminem and Lebron love those guys. Eminem mentions one of Tupac or BIG in like 1/3 of his songs. Lebron is basically a mix of MJ and MJ.
Both Eminem and Lebron are different. They don't have the light heartedness or really the likability of the other four men. Plenty of people dislike or even hate them, whereas few people even disliked the other four men, as the rappers were martyred and the ballers are seen as lovable Dream Team legends.
But, when it's all said and done, they could be considered THE baller and THE rapper of the last half century. Unless...
Unless Steph Curry wins six titles, is top ten in all time scoring, and has the most 3s by a hilarious amount. All possible, given he has 3 titles at age 30, is career 48/44/90. Career. He has 15,000 points, so doing that again in the next 9 seasons, at 30,000 total points, would sneak him in the top 9 ever.
And the 3s is a given that he will end up at the top by a mile.
What rapper could challenge Eminem?
A 32 year old that is worth apparently $100M...Like Steph, he was preceded by a different, but somehow similar person. He was introduced by Iverson. A small guard who shot first and asked questions later, with a certain swagger that you rarely see from any player under 6'4 or under 190 lbs. And who did Wayne introduce to the world? Drake.
Drake is Curry. Some people are obsessed with them. Others really don't like them. They think they are soft, aren't from the hood. Had upbringings that were ideal, and ideal to be a baller or rapper.
They are light skinned. Smaller. Not intimidating. But they are at the top right now, and have been for years.
Drake sings. Curry dances after 3s. Drake likely hasn't even gotten in many fights, unlike someone like DMX, Tupac, etc. Curry seems like a guy who raised his hand in Algebra, politely asking questions to the teacher.
They aren't thug. Not like Wayne or Iverson. Or Eminem or Lebron, who have definitely "wealthied" themselves up as anyone would with that money. But they are uber talented. Drake is a top 10 rapper ever, and has the best voice of any rapper ever. Curry is the best shooter ever, and of all the pure shooters ever, is like the best passer of the bunch, not named Bird (and even then, there is a bigger gap between their shooting and their passing).
Your girlfriend/wife probably likes both. Your dad likely doesn't. Part of you likes and dislikes them, as Drake changed rap by singing during his songs and talking more about romance, hookups, and women, more than anyone maybe ever. Curry changed the game, literally, as you see seven footers shooting 3s regularly now. They have to. Popp said it: the 3 changed the game. And Curry changed the 3.
Speaking of seven footers shooting 3s...
Kevin Durant is a created player. He is basically seven feet, with a B- handle (an A for anyone over 6'7), he can stroke the ball from anywhere, is athletic, long, and is currently fourth all time in PPG in history, ahead of Lebron.
He is likely THE physical freak of all time, outside maybe Shaq Jordan Lebron and Greek Freak.
And he is weird. He leaves OKC, loves GS, and is now going to leave GS likely. He argues with teenagers online, despite being thirty years old, and having dozens of millions in his bank account. He doesn't make sense. But you have to watch. You have to respect. There may be another Durant, but not for a while, and not really as good or as weird, maybe ever.
Who's prime somewhat lined up with Eminem and Drake? A freak like Shaq/Jay Z?
A legend. Kayne West, no doubt about it. Kanye has 20 really really really good songs. At least. He broke onto the seen with Through the Wire and it was shocking how much people like him. And Jesus Walks. Durant went to UT, and immediately people were stunned. These guys weren't as controversial as Eminem/Lebron, but they were shocking to watch.
And now, as they get older, they are plain bizarre as well. Kanye rants on SNL. He says whatever he wants. KD is plain rude to the media, and frankly seems like an asshole, and doesn't care if he's politically correct.
They are legends in their own right, if each retired tomorrow. Speaking of which, looking at all of these rappers/ballers, I have little doubt that in twenty years, these guys will not be in the news. KD will retire and not work with basketball. He will own a clothing line or something. Kayne may own a company, but not be involved. Whereas Wade/Pippen/Jordan/Bird/James, etc. and their rapper counterparts are still and will be very involved. But my son won't know who KD or Kanye were. They'll know of Eminem and Drake and Curry and Lebron.
And that is likely how Kayne and KD want it. Odd. Not normal. On their own fucking terms!
Another seven footer who shoots threes...Remember Dirk Nowitzki? You know #7 on the all time points board? Who may pass Wilt for 6th if he can play some games this year? The Finals MVP?
I certainly remember him. And kind of like Kanye and KD, it was shocking and "a first" to see the way he performed. He shot 3s. Runners. Fallaways, fadeaways, then would block your shot. Then would grab 14 rebounds. He would have games of 30/14/5, with five made threes. That is good today, but it was unheard of fifteen years ago. When a certain rapper came on the scene, it was a sound no one had heard before. Calmly talking about "thug things" basically. Smooth voice, high as a kite, but talking about women and gin...and juice. Yes. Snoop is Dirk. I am him and he is I, as Snoop quotes.
Tall, cool, laid back, but actually fierce and intense underneath it all, these guys are icons. if you love these guys, you LOVE these guys. Snoop still makes some music but was HUGE in the mid 2000s, around Dirk's heyday.
Hell, Snoop was big from mid 90s until Sexual Eruption a decade ago.
Dirk was a top 15 player every season from 2001-2013 or so. Seriously.
And as opposed to the Kanye/KD situation, you know Dirk will be an announcer or on a studio show. He's hilarious and has a huge personality. Meanwhile, Snoop got into acting, has a huge social media presence, and now hosts his own game show of sorts, among other post-rap ventures he has gotten into.
While Ice Cube has been more successful in post-rap ventures, and is arguably more popular, (Bird), Snoop is talented in his own way, and has a much different style. While Dre is more wealthy, more focused, and more connected to all rappers (Kobe) Snoop still mentors and comments and promotes (and disses) current rappers. He sees himself as an OG. Dirk is an OG, having faced MJ, and prime Shaq, and still prime Malone and also Lebron, KD, Westbrook, Harden, and Curry. Very different than Drake, than Eminem, Snoop is still a rock solid legend, and Dirk made the three pointer popular for a different reason than Curry did, and is seen in a better light, a less controversial light, than the great King Lebron.
-One guy that Snoop does like, that Dre and Eminem have really backed, is Kendrick Lamar, who in my estimation is a top 5 rapper right now, and definitely top 10. Who took some of Dirk, Lebron, and Kobe's games and has the support of all of them, despite having played against Dirk and Kobe in the playoffs?
A guy who has averaged 29ppg or more in each of the last four seasons, something maybe only Jordan has done in the last thirty years?
James Harden. Bitch don't kill my vibe.
I have heard legends both talk about these guys in "wowed" voices.
You hear Stephen Jackson or McGrady talk about how unguardable Harden is in today's rules. Literally unguardable.
You hear all rappers mention that Kendrick is THE guy, the talent in today's rap game.
You listen to Kendrick and in my opinion, the voice can get a little annoying, the way he changes it, almost whiny and some of his songs can be a bit repetitive, but c'mon, he is really really good. He is one of the few rappers that you turn the radio up for.
You watch Harden play and you roll your eyes at the quasi-flops, how he gets to the line 15 times. How he shoots 11 threes PER GAME! And he makes 4. Part of you is like "dude you weigh 225, go to hole, but he gets 12ppg from three pointers. And did I mention that they are kinda weird? Compare them to Wade and TI for example. These guys are just a little more "out there" and they own it really.
These are guys we will still be talking about in a decade and maybe beyond.
Their books are maybe not even half written.
Two books that are basically fully written are next.
One guy could have been a top 20 player, if not higher. He was that talented with the basketball. One of of the most coordinated and smooth 6'9 men to touch a ball. He came out strong, and over time has really faded. He may not have a job come next September.
The rapper comparison came out hot as well. Aggressive, really talented in both his booming voice and the speed in which he could rap. Literally, he has to have a top 10 quickest mouth ever.
And he was close with Eminem and 50 cent, even making a diss song about Ja Rule. Now, he talks shit with other rappers, looks like he ate another man on steroids, and looks like he could die this year.
The baller came in with Lebron, and Wade, and is close with CP3. And his career is dead. His reputation is dead. Kids in 2030 won't really know who he was or how he could get 35 points literally on any given night.
Kids won't know who Busta is. Does Busta rhyme about anything significant really? Besides his flow and guns and shit? Not really. Did Carmelo ever do anything but score 25-35 every night and only win maybe 60% of his games? Not really.
But man, back in early 2000s, they were fun to watch.
And of course, speaking of fun to watch, who is more fun to watch that Russell Westbrook in the last twenty years? Maybe Lebron or Freak or prime Kobe. But Russ is absolutely crazy and intense, but somehow cool as hell too. Like you may think he is a punk, but he carries himself off the court like he doesn't give a shit, and apparently he is actually a very nice guy, always joking and laughing and his only off court enemy is KD, who we all know is truly bizarre and has no real identity. Russ is magnetic enough to keep PG to stay in OKC, population 643k, when we all know PG would've loved LA or Boston, the bigger cities with more strip clubs (he got a stripper pregnant years ago- yikes).
Russ GOES. When people say "oh that college prospect has a motor" the first person I think of is Russ.
Does the guy TRY to get triple doubles and try to dunk every play and seems to play faster in the fourth quarter somehow??
Who is a must watch entertainer right now? Movies and music?
Bizarre, smart, magnetic, controversial?
A guy who when I first watched him live in 2014, I knew he would be huge, and when I saw him in The Martian, I felt like his scenes, though almost too quirky, were fun to watch.
Lately, he has a YouTube music video that has 448M views and he played Lando Calrissian in a blockbuster.
Russ is Childish Gambino. Russell and Donald. Simple names for huge personalities. Brodie and Childish. This is America! Imagine Russ in that video and it fits well...Both are hard to not watch.
Another duo that was and is easy to watch, though not near as dynamic as RW-CG, is a solid one. Underrated, but not loved or even respected by 100% of fans.
The baller is seen to the public as a nice guy, a good man who appears in commercials. But apparently dozens of players do not like or respect him, seeing him as a suck up who is actually dirty and selfish.
The rapper was a thug, got shot, but put out some huge hits and benefited greatly from his relationship with Eminem. Like the baller's relationship with Lebron...They talk a big game, but neither has really been considered at the very top ever. Cp3 is 50 cent.
Both are stocky, competitive, shit talkers who are close with some legends, but have really faded in the last 5 years.
You know who has not faded in last 5 years?
He is the talk of the town lately and could legit average 30/13/5 if he starts scoring more. When people mention “best in NBA" you rarely hear his name. You hear lebron KD Curry harden, even Leonard or embid more...
But this dude is GOOD!
A rapper who doesn’t get enough credit is J Cole. He’s really really good. Great flow and voice and has some very good hits- especially Power Trip, but you rarely hear he’s top 3 or 5 in the game.
J Cole just had an album go platinum and had no features. Think about that. Sounds like AD.
J Cole graduated with a 4.2GPA from high school. Maybe a stretch, but Davis seems smart...
After watching him live in a loss to the mavs, I have to say, if he is smart he leaves New Orleans ASAP. He won’t make the playoffs with that roster in his 20s and life is short.
And they’re both ugly to be honest. Awesome, don’t need others (well it’d help AD a ton if had others or joined LA) and are ugly. And have a solid decade left of careers.
Another person who has a solid decade is The Greek Freak.
He has literally gotten better every single year-
And is undeniably top 10 in the league, if not better. 25-12-5 hasn’t happened in the modern era and he is doing it now.
Where is his ceiling? When is it?
2020? 30-15? His points and rebs have increased every single season.
Chance the Rapper likewise came out of nowhere to rise the ranks in talent and popularity. He is funky and truly unique. The Greek Freak is called a unicorn.
Chance plays into the fact that he is odd, unique, and funky and it works very well. As I type this, sadly for 2019 but good for the long run, I read that he is taking a sabbatical. Greek Freak doesn't care he isn't the best three point shooter. He still gets buckets better than all but maybe five men in the league. One interesting thing about both men: if both retired in two years, how many people who really remember them?
They are hot now. But will they be remembered? Chance has to come out with more. Freak has to win in the playoffs. Or else they'll be seen as dudes that were really big in their 20s and never really rose up into legend status.
I can see both fizzling out before 2025, or both being legends by then. Time will tell.
Just like with the final duo.
The final duo could be around in 2030. Or be done by 2022. But I truly think with their talent and dedication to the game, it'll be the former.
Post Malone hit the scene hard in 2017, maybe 2016 (?) in which everyone discovered him and he blew up.
Luka is one of the best rookies in the last decade, if not since lebron. All around- shooting passing teamwork, he may be the best since lebron. Who was better? KD?
If the Mavs did not have him, they’d be 6-24 right now, I would say.
Post Malone is ultra talented. He can rap, sing, write, and is seemingly funny.
Luka can shoot, pass, drive, play D, and is seemingly funny.
They are THE big items of the game under 23 years of age, and have the entire world ahead of them.
Klay Thompson as The Weeknd to close it down. Is The Weeknd a rapper? No, not really. More of a singer. He is a talent. He does rap a bit, and he is unreal. He truly complements all rappers. Like Klay does with any good bball player. He is the 2nd or 3rd best shooter ever. He could average 27ppg on another team, but most people like him to be the complement. The Weeknd has great songs by himself, but it is awesome when he is with another rapper, like Kendrick Lamar or Drake.
They are both unreal talents in their own right.
So there you have it. Next time you hear a song like Swagger Like us (baller equivalents are Iverson, Wade, Durant, and Shaq) or All She Wrote (the dynamic duo of Eminem and TI, which is Lebron-Wade- the rappers need to team up more), think of their equivalent. It's worth a chuckle.
A few final side notes:
You could definitely argue that BIG is Shaq and Jay Z is MJ.
Not only are they more similar physically, but Jay Z and MJ became moguls in business and are still very powerful.
BUT, BIG and MJ came first and influenced the other two. And Jay Z is not as dark (skin and persona) as BIG, and same goes with Shaq and MJ.
Shaq wouldn't punch you during a practice. BIG seems like he would punch you in the studio.
That was a tough call though and also needed to tie into Magic and Tupac.
Plus, with the whole East-West rivalry, Kobe and Shaq (Dr Dre and Jay Z) were somewhat enemies but have now become friends. Much like Kobe and Shaq.
And who does Eminem (Lebron) call out as the best ever?
He loves Dre obviously, and mentioned Jay Z Tupac and Biggie, along with Andre from Outkast and NAS.
This would be Lebron shouting out Kobe, Shaq, Magic, MJ, Duncan, and Barkley. Makes sense.
I had Ron Artest (Metta World Peace) as Big Pun. Really really good for a while, then while Big Pun sadly died, Artest's game sadly died in 2010. Both blunt, huge, in your face. I mean, Ron admitted to drinking at halftimes!
Draymond then is Fat Joe, a lesser version of Big Pun/Ron. Known for defense and saying what they want.
And less liked. No one loves Fat Joe or Draymond, but you know they're good. Everyone at least thought Big Pun or Ron were entertaining and in their peaks, they were the better versions.
Eazy E is Bernard King. Why? Eazy-E also died young, and could've been considered top 15 ever at least. He ran with Dre and Cube (Kobe and Bird).
Who influenced these guys in some fashion? Bernard. Between cocaine early on and later his knees, he was never physically or mentally as healthy as the legends.
From Wikipedia: On January 1, 1980, he was also charged with multiple counts of forced sodomy, later being convicted for the misdemeanor of "Attempted Forcible Sexual Assault". King took six different lie detector tests claiming that he was so drunk he had no recollection of what had happened that night, passing each test.
Yikes! He averaged 28ppg in his second to last season at age 34, which is unbelievable. For reference,Kobe averaged 27ppg at that age, and Lebron is 33 and is averaging 27. Wow. He had a season in which he averaged 32.9! Again, could've and should've been a legend, like Eazy-E.
Lastly, I had Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp as Pimp C and Bun B. Pimp C seemed like a guy who could just keep talking and talking, whereas Bun B was the muscle.
Play your part Three Stacks, play your part!
You know it makes me unhappy (What's that) When brothas make babies, and leave a young mother to be a pappy And since we all came from a woman Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman I wonder why we take from our women Why we rape our women, do we hate our women? I think it's time to kill for our women Time to heal our women, be real to our women And if we don't we'll have a race of babies That will hate the ladies, that make the babies And since a man can't make one He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one So will the real men get up I know you're fed up ladies, but keep your head up