NBA Players Who Should Be Name-Dropped In Rap

It’s just a thing rappers do: Jay Z, Kanye, Kendrick and Q—they’ve all either compared themselves to Michael Jordan, or written entire songs about the dude. We get it: He’s good at basketball the same way you’re good at rapping.

Jordan isn’t the only NBA player to get name dropped in the annals of hip-hop, however. There are references to other legends (remember when Nelly dropped Magic, Kareem and Worthy in just two bars?), as well as modern-day ballers who are invoked more because they exist and have names rather than that they’re good at basketball (“I’m in the way, you can’t pass like Aaron Brooks” or “Fade away flow, oh, O.J. Mayo”). You can’t tell me that Hasheem Thabeet was even worth mentioning as a joke, Wale. Don’t do that again.

Rather than wasting beats on the likes of Dwight Howard and J.J. Redick, and instead of shouting out the same dudes over and over (is Quentin Miller writing for everybody now?), let’s show some love to guys who fly under the radar as far as hip-hop name drops. It’s easy to rap about Steph Curry; talking about the following guys shows a greater grasp of the current NBA scene, not to mention lyrical dexterity.

Kawhi Leonard

Sure, it’s good to be The King. But you know what might be better? Being the guy who almost single-handedly shut down The King in the 2014 Finals, ending his reign and perhaps toppling his Miami kingdom for good while ushering in a new era in San Antonio. Kawhi plays above the rim and lockdown defense without ever cracking a smile. He’s basically the NBA version of “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangster.”

Potential words to rhyme: know why, sky high, hard, bard.

Giannis Antetokoumpo

If you can figure out a way to use “Antetokoumpo” in a track and not sound like you’re joking, you are probably one of the five greatest rappers of all time. For those who want the training wheels version, “Greek Freak” is already rhymed for you.

Potential words to rhyme: new god flow, we on this, you know.

Mike Conley, Tony Allen, or anyone else on the Memphis Grizzlies

For years, this team has literally been marketed as “Grit And Grind.” There is nothing more hip-hop than the concept of grinding, which speaks to putting in the work necessary to make it in a highly competitive field. So maybe it’s time to give props to Z-Bo, Gasol, and the perimeter guys who apply ridiculous ball pressure on almost every play?

Potential words to rhyme: honestly, homie, frisbees.

Kristaps Porzingis

Latvian Knick Porzingis is taking the NBA world by storm with a fantastic inside-out game and a noted love of WorldStar. Kid was born to be name-dropped.

Potential words to rhyme: daps, slaps, the thing is, four fingers.

Jeff Teague

We get it: It’s tough to shout out big men because usually their games just aren’t as flashy as those of point guards. So why not show some love to Jeff Teague, the Hawks guard with great court vision who holds down both ends of the floor? ATLiens, we’re looking at you for this one.

Potential words to rhyme: ‘nef, league, fatigue, intrigue.

Draymond Green

The consummate underdog. An unlikely success story. An amazing trashtalker who had the audacity to call Doc Rivers by his real name. Any rapper who doesn’t identify with Draymond probably isn’t all that good to begin with.

Potential words to rhyme: Everybody Loves Raymond, mean, screen, triple-beam lyrical dream.

Image: @Inthekwangki

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