Hoops and hip-hop go way back. Drake summed it up best on Thank Me Later’s “Thank Me Now”:
“Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous. Cause we want to be them, and they want to be us.”
Other than the obvious connection that both these professions call on usually underprivileged men, the possibility of making it big in either of these fields is almost impossibly low. Thus being a champ in both is pretty insane.
This phase properly started off with Shaquille O'Neil and the mor]st recent addition to the list is Lonzo Ball. Here's a look at some players who tried their hand in the recording studio as well.
#3 Steve Francis
This story is one that is absolutely sad. Steve Francis was an amazing basketball player but it looked like his heart was somewhere else and he did not do well in that place. Francis is a former Rookie of the Year and even played in three straight All-Star games.
In his time in the NBA, he was an absolute basketball star and was on the road to the hall of fame. However, he chose a different path leaving behind his average of 18 points per game and 6 assists per game. In 2012 at 35 years of age, he put his 100% into starting his rap career and failed almost instantly.
Francis never came around to releasing a full-length project and his energy seemed to fizzle out after one song and visual combo. There was no redemption from that one song in any aspect. Had his lyrics, visuals or voice quality been any good it would have made sense to drop a perfect basketball career, but none of that even remotely existed. We hope fame comes his way soon, but unfortunately, it's almost impossible to perceive that future.
#2 Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson is the player most recognized to have solidified the connection between basketball and rap music. Iverson aka The Answer aka Jewels was the ultimate hip-hop baller. He fit into every stereotypical image a rapper could ever have. From tattoos to baggy jeans and the plethora of chains, he had it all. He was such an icon in his time that he had one of the largest numbers of jersey sales of all time.
Considering his cultural and other organic ties to hip-hop, Iverson was not a hip-hop genius. He had many issues with homophobia and violence in his lyrics. Honestly, it was even surprising to see that his music would be released given the issues the songs had.
Unfortunately, these lyrics did have a past. Iverson has had multiple arrests for gun possession and violence. While these issues threatened his basketball career, Iverson was just being himself and nothing else. However, it would be nice to know that there was more to him than this.
#1 Shaquille O'Neal
There are some names that Shaquille O'Neal goes by such as Shaq, but at the prime of his alternate career, he was known as much more. Shaq aka Shaq Fu aks Superman aka Kazaam aka Shaq Diesel was the NBA's most successful rapper. He has received gold and platinum certification for his second and debut pieces respectively.
Shaq set many records for this crossover that many basketball players have pursued. He was the first and only player to be mainstream with a record label and did not go down the indie route. His beats may be watered down, but the music is truly not that bad.
Shaq's tunes fit into what was typical of the early '90s and were very inviting to dance to. Overall his music could be classified into fun, playful and easy to like. His music fit into the personality of who he was as a person and therefore neither was quite serious. He may not have been the world's best rapper, but his general approach definitely made him a winner.