The NBA season starts tomorrow so there should be absolutely zero surprise that hip-hop is already beginning to show their appreciation for their favorite ball players that rule the hard court. First, Memphis rapper Yo Gotti released his latest single, “LeBron James,” early this morning that pays homage to the reigning NBA MVP. Meanwhile, Action Bronson dropped “Practice” which samples the iconoclastic Philadelphia 76ers ex-star Allen Iverson’s famous “practice” speech.
However, they are hardly the first rapper to directly namecheck a NBA superstar in their song. Rappers have been making odes to the league’s biggest superstars for years. Here are 10 rap songs named after NBA players.
Kendrick Lamar Feat. ScHoolboy Q – “Michael Jordan”
Back in 2010, Kendrick Lamar released his head-turning mixtape, O(verly) D(edicated), that featured the song “Michael Jordan.” Fellow TDE partner ScHoolboy Q was featured on the song that had a hook that declared on hook that K. Dot was “too much for these niggas, I’m three much for these hoes/Wayne told me that, and that’s just how it goes/Michael Jordan, bitch.”
RiFF RaFF – “Larry Bird”
As the Jamos Franco-inspiring, walking rap cartoon RiFF RaFF was first coming to notoriety, RiFF RaFF released the neon-glowing video for his song, “Larry Bird,” that was named after the 3-time NBA champion. Key line: “I shook dice with Larry Bird in Barcelona.” Indeed.
Lil Wayne – “Kobe Bryant”
While Lil Wayne remains one of pop culture’s most famous bandwagon fans, he paid homage to the Los Angeles Lakers icon on “Kobe Bryant” as a long-time fan in 2009.
Curren$y – Feat. Freddie Gibbs – “Scottie Pippens”
On this cut from Curren$y and The Alchemist’s 2011 mixtape Covert Coup, Spittah and Freddie Gibbs trade brilliantly vicious verses about “”Windy City Bulls/Mitchell & Ness wool jackets/some sweats and Scottie Pippens.”
Serengeti – “Shazam!”
Based on 20-year old feud between Chicago rapper Serengeti (formerly of the Grimm Teachaz) and Shaquille O’Neal during Shaq’s days rhyming with the Fu-Schnickens, “Shazam!” finds Geti verbally eviscerating Shaq on “Shazam!”
Lil B – “Reggie Miller”
In one of his seemingly endless odes to off-beat pop culture figures, Lil B based a song of his appreciation of Indiana Pacers Hall-Of-Famer Reggie Miller on his mixtape, Red Flame.
Troop 41 – “Do The John Wall”
During the nation’s brief obsession with “Dougie”-based dance routines, Raleigh, North Carolina-based rap group Troop 41 released “Do The John Wall” based on Washington Wizards point guard John Wall’s penchant for performing “The Dougie” during pre-game introductions.
Mike WiLL Made It – Feat. Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa & Juicy J – “23″
Hip-hop’s fixation on Jordan-brand shoes does not lack for historical documentation. The latest ode to Michael Jordan’s most famous accessory was in Mike WiLL Made It’s “23.” The song title is a reference to both Jordan’s number and the shoes he popularized.
Gucci Mane -Feat. Yo Gotti – “Worthy & Erving”
Cocaine references made in comparison with the number on the back of a sports jersey are pretty common place (See below) but there is a certain type of amusement in seeing 1980s Hall Of Famers James Worthy and Julius Erving find their names called.
Young Jeezy – “24 23″
Ridde: If Jeezy is paying LeBron and Jay Z is paying Dwayne Wade who is paying Kobe?
Answer: The Lakers. Duh.