The NBA and hip-hop are no strangers to one another, but there have been moments when they’ve made strange bedfellows. With the new basketball flick Just Wright starring Common as an injured NBA All-Star and Queen Latifah as his love interest, opening today, here’s a roster of the strangest basketball tie-ins in rap. —Rondell Conway


B-Ball Best Kept Secret
Back in 1994, the idea of Shaquille O’Neal, Jason Kidd and Gary Payton teaming up with a couple of borderline stars (Dennis Scott, Cedric Ceballos) and serviceable vets (Brian Shaw, Chris Mills) on the court would make for a championship contender. But throw them on an ill-fated rap album with a host of second tier rappers (Warren G, Grand Puba, Sadat X) and you get T’d up for a flagrant foul. In hindsight David Stern should’ve suspended the whole lot of them for this unsportsmanlike conduct on the mic.
Jason Kidd feat. Money B “What The Kidd Didd”

Allen Iverson “40 Bars”
The Answer had a killer crossover that Michael Jordan could testify to, but on the mic he was a cross between Tupac and Jim Jones—more thug than talent. Which meant Jewelz (A.I.’s rap moniker) was bad news for the league. Ultimately, this rap song got benched by rap and sports fans alike. Luckily he didn’t go in for “400 Bars.”

Drake on Degrassi: The Next Generation
How did Drake go from playing a hoop star turned quadriplegic on the popular TV series Degrassi to putting out the hardest shit with Dwayne Carter? There are a couple of theories behind that, but however you look at it, Young Money’s White Knight is holding weight in the game. Eddie Curry.

Charles Barkley’s Taco Bell Ad
Chuck always said he was no role model. So future advertisers pay close attention at how not to use an overweight Hall of Fame basketball player on a Tim Burton-like studio set, with raps written by someone just barely smarter than a fifth grader. That’s Turrible!

Magic, Larry, and Friends In Converse “Weapon” Commercial
Before Nike was the preferred sneaker for the NBA’s elite players, Converse designed the “Weapon” of choice for the league’s best hoopers. To promote the hightop kicks they brought together an all-world line up of talent, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin McHale, Bernard King, and Mack Aguirre, to rap a few lines about the shoe. It wasn’t a bad look overall, but if today’s NBA player rapped about weapons it would have a totally different meaning. Hold ya head, Gilbert Arenas!


“Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars Anthem)”
While Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny took on a ferocious gang of B-balling aliens in the Looney Tunes movie Space Jam, hip-hop provided the soundtrack to the intergalactic showdown. B-Real, Coolio, LL Cool J, Method Man, and Busta Rhymes were the starting five for this animated mean team of hip-hoppers.

Master P's “Make ‘Em Say Uhh!”
We know P once had aspirations of ballin’ in the low, the hip-hop mogul even had enough skills to garner summer league tryouts with the Charlotte Hornets in 1998 and the Toronto Raptors in 1999. However, when he tried to marry his two loves, basketball and rap, in the video for his 1998 single “Make ‘Em Say Uhh!” the result was an over the top halftime show.

Shaq vs. JabbaWockeeZ

Age may have slowed the Big Shaq-tus, but at the 2009 NBA All-star game the future Hall of Famer proved that he still had some fancy footwork on the court.

All Eyez On Z-Pac

David Stern has taken the NBA global, but we hardly think he expected to see the Atlanta Hawks’ Georgian big man Zaza Pachulia spitting raps in his native tongue.

Shaq-Fu Gets Busy With the Fu-Schnickens

Today, it’s no big deal to see Shaquille O’Neal rock the mic, after all he’s hands down the best rapper the league has seen, but in 1993 seeing the burgeoning superstar break into the rap game as a protégé of the New York rap trio Fu-Schnickens was odd. Word is bornin’.

NBA In Auto-tune

Credit the NBA for creating the dopest ads among the three major sports. It’s the place “Where Amazin’ Happens,” it’s where Kanye West can inspire a playoff run, and where the auto-tune was resurrected for a late season run. Unfortunately, the new NBA commercials featuring cleverly edited sound bites of NBA players using auto-tunes vocals has as much flare as the San Antonio Spurs offense.

Lil Kim Dates a Ballin' Cross Dresser

Lil Kim has had her share of roles in Hollywood flicks, but one of her early turns in the 2002 cross-dressing basketball movie Juwanna Mann as the gold digging girlfriend was as random and forgettable as Tracy McGrady on the New York Knicks.


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