• Who Got a 2 Chainz Feature?!?! A Definitive Ranking of NBA Rap Singles
  • Image via Interscope Records
  • What is it about basketball that has created such a close relationship with hip-hop culture? The DNA of modern basketball is infused with that of hip-hop, and vice versa. Basketball players are the rock stars of the day, and often, they try to mimic their rap counterparts by foraying in music. While some are a bit rough around the edges, there are a few guys who have records that could mess around and have a triple-double. With the season over and NBA players swimming in free time we’re sure to see more guys dabble in the booth. But before they go in, let’s look back at some our favorite songs by pro basketball players.

  • 10. Kobe Bryant feat. Tyra Banks – “K.O.B.E.” (2000)

    It couldn’t get much jiggier than this. In the very year 2000 sounding record, “K.O.B.E.” was the first single off of Kobe’s debut album, Visions, which actually never released. But the song was fairly catchy—featuring supermodel Tyra Banks—and it seemed as if Kobe Bryant was on to something. After some record label shake ups, the album was shelved and never released. But hey, it’s not like he didn’t go on to do better.

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  • 9. Stephen Jackson aka Stak5 – “Save the Day” (2012)

    Stephen Jackson is one of the more thorough guys in the league, and his Port Arthur, Texas roots also mean that he’s in good company when it comes to rap music. If the name of the town doesn’t ring a bell, it’s also the home of legendary duo UGK; and if you’re counting music in its entirety, Janis Joplin was born there, too. “Save the Day” released in 2012, and it was an introspective look on how far Jax had come, and certainly if he keeps it up, a landmark on where he could go in music.

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  • 8. Cedric Ceballos feat. Warren G – “Flow On” (1994)

    Cedric Ceballos collaborated with Warren G in 1994 to give us a smooth and (at the time) very g-funk era record that had all the pieces of what a song from a LA. Laker should sound like. Ceballos went on to record a few more records with former baller Dana Barros, Sadat X, and Grand Puba from Brand Nubian, but they just weren’t as easy to listen to as this.

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  • 7. Allen Iverson aka Jewels – “40 Bars” (2000)

    Allen Iverson was the link between street culture and the NBA. A pioneer of cornrows, even baggier shorts and jerseys, jewelry, and durags, AI took that street link and attempted to release an album around the turn of the millennium. His single, “40 Bars,” was released to an outrage from those that were on the outside looking in due to some rather unsavory lyrics, and the album never really lifted off the ground. It’s okay, AI, we saw what you were trying to do.

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  • 6. Metta World Peace – “Champions” (2010)

    Metta World Peace needs no introduction. The Queens native puts down for his borough, and after winning the NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010, Metta decided to drop a track to celebrate. The audacity is respected, and although Metta’s rap career may have gone in the same direction as his basketball one, he’ll never let us forget that he was a champion at one point.

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  • 5. Lou Williams feat. 2 Chainz & Meek Mill – “Problem” (2011)

    When he was in Philly, guard Lou Williams had a steady run of freestyles being pumped out. Since moving to Atlanta, he’s been a bit quiet, but this track with 2 Chainz and Meek Mill could’ve probably gotten airplay with enough push.

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  • 4. Shaquille O’Neal feat. Fu-Schnickens – “What’s Up Doc?” (1993)

    Without question, Shaquille O’Neal has had the best rap career of all basketball players, starting with his 1993 debut album, Shaq Diesel, that went certified platinum. With help from fast rapping cohorts, Fu-Schnickens, this is a jam straight out of the ’90s, but somehow it still holds up. Not to mention the little jab at Christian Laettner and Alonzo Mourning for not being picked No. 1 in the draft.

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  • 3. Gary Payton – “Livin’ Legal and Large” (1994)

    Gary Payton was synonymous for trash talking during his Hall of Fame career. But what you might not have known is that Gary had a record on the 1994 compilation B-Ball’s Best Kept Secret that had him rhyming over a funky, synthesized and West Coast-influenced “Livin’ Legal and Large” sounding a lot like Too $hort.

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  • 2. Chris Webber feat. Kurupt – “Gangsta, Gangsta (How U Do It)” (1999)

    Chris Webber currently resides as one of the league’s top television analysts, but in the late-’90s, C.Webb teamed up with L.A. rapper Kurupt for a Trackmasters-esque collaboration. The video alone gives this one a high ranking, as Big Daddy Kane, Redman, and Ghostface teamed up with choreographed dancers in suits. Gangsta indeed.

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  • 1. Shaquille O’Neal feat. Notorious B.I.G. – “You Can’t Stop the Reign” (1996)

    At number one, Shaq comes in with a little help from the Notorious B.I.G. The year he signed his groundbreaking deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaq went on to drop another platinum album featuring some unknown guys named Jay Z, Mobb Deep, and Rakim. Not bad for a big man.

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