The rap community has always had a close relationship with the sports world, especially the NBA. We’ve seen countless rappers make appearances courtside at NBA games, numerous references to players in songs, and even some NBA players try their hand at rapping themselves. With a number of NBA players, such as Shaq and Damian Lillard taking part in the game of rap, I thought it would be interesting to make a team of rappers that would be suited best to take part in the game of basketball.
Besides the fact that Jay-Z is actually part owner of a team, I believe Jay-Z would be perfect for the role of owner for this squad since he has plenty of other business experience. Jay-Z is great at getting people together for projects and is well-respected throughout the community. He’s a great businessman, having experience with co-founding his own label, Roc-a-fella Records and being a certified NBA and MLB sports agent with clients on his agency’s roster of the likes of Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant, and Dez Bryant. All in all, Jay-Z is a great businessman who could run this team quite smoothly.
Coach: Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre could have also fit the bill of owner in this situation, but I felt he was better suited for the role of head coach. Dre’s production skills are some of the best this world has experienced and I feel that ability to craft and create in the studio could translate seamlessly onto the court. He’d be able to draw up plays flawlessly and whip the team into the best shape they could possibly be in. Dre brings out the best in the people he works with and nearly everyone in the rap world has nothing but respect for him, leading him to having an excellent relationship with the players.
PG: J. Cole
Cole may be more on the taller side of talent on this team, but I feel his skills and abilities fit the Point Guard role beautifully. Just like in his music, he has the ability to show off when he needs to, but also put his pride aside and help those around him, making him a perfect candidate for point guard. The quiet, unassuming approach he took on his last record and seems to be sticking with would create a nice deception to the skill that Cole possesses when he has the ball in his hands. Cole also has much experience playing basketball, having stated on numerous occasions that he loved playing growing up, even playing on his high school team. We’ve also seen him play in the 2012 NBA celebrity game, where he had a nice dunk with the alley-oop assist from Kevin Hart, which shows that Cole is a great multi-tool player.
SG: Freddie Gibbs
Freddie Gibbs, I believe, would make an excellent addition to this team. I was unsure where to put him exactly on this squad, but I believe SG is where he fit best. Freddie Gibbs has a strong, aggressive style of rapping that could intimidate anyone. This style is especially present on tracks such as “Shitsville” off of his collaborative album with Madlib, Piñata. A style, that would without a doubt translate onto the court, making him a scoring threat, as well as a defensive powerhouse. People would be afraid to try anything against him, leading them to be weak and weary on defense. This is a great skill to have for a big man, but due to his size in comparison to the rest of the team, I believe he is best suited for SG. Also, Gibbs is very knowledgeable on the game of basketball and is an avid fan, giving him an edge on his opponents.
SF: Tyler, The Creator
This pick is a bit out there and unexpected. I wouldn’t expect other owners to draft Tyler high, if at all, but I believe he could be a great asset to any rap basketball team. Despite not being a huge fan of basketball, or having any real experience playing the sport, Tyler has the athletic build that any owner would dream of having on their team. Having a tall frame, with a skinny, yet muscular build, paired with natural athletic talent, makes Tyler a deceptively athletic threat, if I may. Finding a position for him was tough, but Small Forward suits Tyler best because he is the most well-rounded rapper on this team. He has the ability to go hard and tough when need be, as evident by tracks such as “Domo23” and “I Ain’t Got Time!” Meaning he could take control of the game and pound it in the paint. Yet at the same time, he is able to play it smooth and slick as evident on tracks such as “911/Mr. Lonely” and “Treehome95”, meaning he can take a step back and facilitate the ball effortlessly. Also, having worked with a number of other artists, Tyler would have great chemistry with his other teammates.
PF: 2 Chainz
2 Chainz is the first of the big men on this squad. Standing at 6’5”, 2 Chainz is one of the tallest rappers in the game. 2 Chainz also has some of the most basketball experience out of any rapper. 2 Chainz attended Alabama State University on a basketball scholarship from 1995-1997. Experience like this is a necessity on a team like this. Being a bit of a veteran, 2 Chainz would serve as a great mentor to the rest of the team. His lavish raps and melodic music would translate into a very graceful and beautiful style of play. 2 Chainz, however, is still able to get down and dirty when the time comes, allowing him to play some gritty defense and really battle under the hoop.
C: Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg, rounding out the starting five, would for sure serve as the captain of this roster. Having been around the game nearly as long as Coach Dre, Snoop has veteran presence up the ying-yang. His catchy, upbeat flow would translate into some great motivation and leadership. Snoop would be able to keep the good spirits running high in the locker room and out on the court, even if the team is down or behind. As for his play, Snoop is an avid sports fan, coaches football, and has run basketball fundraisers in past years. Snoop has the athletic blood in him, making him a natural talent that can easily be utilized on the court. His athletic talent can even be seen in his son Cordell’s football skills. Cordell was a former WR at UCLA and was highly touted in high school for his play. And lastly, Snoop has some experience as well. Who could forget his appearance at the 2014 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans?
Sixth Man: Lil B
No rap basketball team would be complete without Lil B. Lil B could easily be in the starting lineup, but I feel that his skills would be better utilized coming off the bench. Lil B has some experience under his belt, having tried out for the NBA D-League (Now known as the G-League), but just falling short. He could provide an amped up energy that would surely get his teammates riled up. Lil B is capable of lighting a fire that could spark a huge run for his team when they need it most. It also helps that Lil B has been known to have great “influence” in the sports world. An influence that could easily be used to his team’s advantage.
Lil Dicky, known at home as LiDicky, comes from a very athletic family. For those who do not know, Lil Dicky is the often forgotten about fourth Ball brother, as seen in this video. While he may not have been as highly touted as his other brothers, there is no doubt that Lil Dicky has some skill of his own.
Wale has great athleticism, having attended multiple colleges on football scholarships, making him a good candidate for this team. However I was unsure where he could have fit into this lineup or whose place he could have taken. Also, his skill resides in football, so whether that athleticism would translate to basketball is unknown.
Meek Mill does not have much of a sports background besides being a fan of it, but in recent years, he has been seen hanging out with members of the Philadelphia 76ers. This may not mean much, but I’m certain that he could have picked up a thing or two from hanging out with the likes of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.