We’ve arrived at that magical point of the summer where, well, not much happens. Of course the current US presidential administration and North Korea can keep folks on their toes, but the lifestyle/leisure media world runs a bit slow. Particularly, as it pertains to music and basketball, the two things of most concern at Triple OT, neither really has the driving forces behind them that they have during the rest of the year.
For basketball, considering this is an Olympic-less year, most summer leagues are coming to a close as players wind down only to gear up for September’s training camp. Free Agency is all but in the books, with a number of publications posting recaps and rankings that speculate how well you team will compete next season. For the rap industry, besides the obligatory [summer/fire/freestyle] themed mixtapes, summer tours are dying down and autumn ones have yet to flare up, just as major album releases begin finalizing dates towards the end of the month or later. Overall August is a strange time, one that finds those final summer memories competing with back-to-school lists, moving dates and recapping vacations with co-workers.
Thus in the spirit of prime “shit-post/F5” season as its known on Reddit, let’s compile a starting five and a head coach for the All-NBA, All-Rapper Team of the 2000s. Inspired in part by Adam Fromal’s 21st Century All-NBA team, this list isn’t about rappers that associate well with NBA players. Nor is it about NBA players who rap. These individuals are honest to goodness blessed with some athletic ability and are so intertwined with Dr. James Naismith’s sport that in an alternate universe they are lacing up a pair of Reeboks and draining some hesi pull-up jimbos with aplomb.
Center: Rick Ross
Including the “athletic ability” qualifier in the last paragraph and immediately jumping to Rick Ross might seem a bit perplexing, but considering his infatuation with Ross-Fit, a deal (he lost) with Reebok and his dedication that led to a notable weight loss, the MMG Monarch might be able to muscle his way in the paint against an undersized team of rappers turned ballers. Though he wasn’t as athletically minded as he is now, Rozay has always been fond of the game, making sure to include basketball courts at his sprawling homes, and even promoting the album God Forgives, I Don’t with a basketball vlog. Judging by his post positioning around the 2:40 mark I’m sure Officer Ricky would be good for at least a couple boards per game while intimidating anyone attempting to stare him down with his gargantuan beard.
Power Forward: 2 Chainz
A staple at Atlanta Hawks games, 2 Chainz assures at least some hands-on knowledge of the game, having infamously played a season for Alabama State in 1996-97 under then head coach Robb Spivery. At the time averaging a cool 3 points per game as a point/shooting guard, the 6’5” Tauheed Epps (birth name) would be forced to play the four in this mythical conglomerate of talent, using his lanky frame akin to a Kevin Garnett, emphasizing his midrange game while towering over opponents with an expansive wingspan.
Small Forward: Dave East
Hailing from the Mecca of Basketball NYC, Harlem rapper Dave East can back 2 Chainz up with some legitimate collegiate experience. Having played AAU ball with the likes of Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley on notable squads like DC Assault and DC Blue Devils, East inked a scholarship to University of Richmond, a Division I organization then coached by Chris Mooney. Clashing with his coach led to him leaving school and eventually winding up at Towson University, another DI program where he saw minutes at forward and notched a number of 20 point games, though more off-court issues would change his trajectory. On this team, coupled with The Game, East would provide the grit and hustle that mark all championship caliber collaborations, and his boom-bap tinged hustler’s music would provide a punchy gym soundtrack to keep the squad motivated.
Shooting Guard: Jim Jones
From middle school dances to radio station summer jams, Jim Jones, Dipset and the “We Fly High” anthem was nigh inescapable from 2006 until a few years after. Spawning a number of remixes, the Harlem legend might seem like a “baller” in name and monetary status only, but his NY roots have him featured in a number of videos showing off his b-ball prowess. He might not have the athleticism of East or the length of 2 Chainz, but Jones could surely come of some Rozay screens and knock down some corner threes.
Point Guard & Team Captain: The Game
Arguably the hardest of the group to round up considering a pending jail sentence and retirement from the rap game, Jayceon Taylor has amassed the longest running basketball career of the bunch, notably making appearances at Drew League games in his hometown Los Angeles. While merely a Pro-Am situation, Game relies on a decent set of handles and a jumper, which, while technically unsound is rather functional, and would likely usher the Dr. Dre’s protégé to lead the team in scoring and assists, not unlike James Harden. He also boasts (or has boasted) a decent basketball physique, though he may be weighed down (or better yet elevated?) by his recreational fondness for cannibus.
Coach: Snoop Dogg
Mirroring the same Godfatherly essence as Pat Riley, Uncle Snoop would be best suited for leading from the sidelines, especially considering the amount of egos involved. Seemingly always watching over the rap game from his 6’4” perch with the same composure as the now retired Byron Scott, Snoop is the embodiment of family, always ready to reference his wife and kids while ensuring not to exclude any of his “nephews.” Moreover, Snoop’s always been a team player, staunchly representing the entire state of California in every way possible, from pop features with Katy Perry to complete posse cuts featuring “all the homies.” Oh, and being a regular at NBA Celebrity Games helps too.
Who would you include in an All-Time All Rap NBA Team? Let me know @bjtripleot on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org