Drop The Mic
Shaquille O'Neal. You've probably heard of him. Pretty good at basketball you might recall. Had himself a time in high school:
Made an impression in college:
#1 overall pick in 1992, Rookie of the Year...
Jeepers creepers! You forget the pure physicality sometimes. Anyway, that brings us to 1993, the year Shaquille brought us this:
Yeah, that's what I'm talking about! Calling Karl Malone by name, awesome. Well he wasn't the first NBA rapper and he wouldn't be the last. He wasn't the best NBA rapper and he wasn't the worst. (Damian Lillard is the best and about 20 of them are tied for worst.) I am not going to go through them all, I'm just trying to have some fun here. For me, that was the first time I heard tell of an NBA player wanting to be, and because of the money he was making, actually becoming a rapper. As it turns out every rapper wants to be in the NBA and every NBA player wants to be a rapper. From Cedric Ceballos to Chris Webber to Allen Iverson to pretty much everybody on an NBA roster right now. Iman Shumpert records tracks whenever he's not delivering babies and using headphone cords to tie off umbilical cords. (Look it up, he's as cool during child birth as he is on the mic.) Lonzo Ball has more rap songs than 3 pointers made. It's getting out of hand.
Well we saw Shaq's first video so why don't we look at Kobe Bryant's?
Apologies. I should not have exposed you to that. I thought it would be funny. Actually Kobe should be apologizing to us. He takes Brandy to the prom, but when he records a song he gets Tyra Banks to sing the hook? He also was unfortunate enough to use a beat that Big L would make legendary when he ran all over it for the track "Dangerous" on O.C.'s album. Shaq and Kobe's lives off the court and in the booth were always at odds and after they broke up for good, Shaq was the first to win a title. He quickly grabbed a mic and let us know all about it:
... And there it was. Drop the mic! For real. That was the performance to end all NBA rapper performances. If you love hoops and you love hip hop you know what it is. I have never considered Shaq much of an intellectual, although he did name himself the Big Aristotle at one point, but that was pristine. He absolutely captured the moment. Kobe also had a Shaq diss track called L.O.S.E.R. and it was everything the title hyped it to be. I'm not linking that one, you can look it up on your own time, but don't because I love Kobe. I'd rather you remember him like this:
Back to hip hop and hoops. There have been a million clever name drops or basketball references over the years, and a handful of songs that are actually about ball. I love them all. But for me, there is one track that just sounds like hoops. Just listen to the lyrics. If you ball in the parks, it's talking to you:
"Percentage from the field is real..."
And just for fun, let's watch Shaq, LeBron and Dwight break dance.