It’s no secret that today’s big name rappers love the NBA. Whether they are mentioning teams or players in their songs, talking trash to rivals on Twitter, or attending the games themselves, current rappers have various ways to show they love their teams.
Chances are if you’ve been to an NBA game in a big city, you have seen a rapper or other famous celebrity featured on the jumbo-tron while sitting courtside at the game. However, for some wealthy rappers, just attending the game isn’t enough. These big fans take their love of the NBA to the next level by becoming global ambassadors or part owners of their favorite teams. One rapper on this list even tries to put curses on his favorite team’s opponents. Now, that’s dedication.
So why do rappers love the NBA so much? Well, the relationship between hip-hop music and the National Basketball Association has been present for quite some time now. Many NBA TV commercials use popular hip-hop songs to promote their players and upcoming games. For example, rapper Flo Rida, a huge Miami Heat fan, made the hit song “Going Down For Real” to be shown on ESPN during the 2015 playoff season. ESPN and other sports networks paired Flo Rida’s catchy song with videos of basketball highlights to create excitement for the 2015 postseason.
Numerous NBA players and rappers are good friends. Drake is always seen hanging out with pro-ballers, including Paul Pierce, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Meanwhile, rapper Iggy Azalea and Lakers shooting guard Nick Young have been dating for almost two years now and are planning to get married. Since Rappers and NBA players both have busy schedules and can both afford to do expensive activities together, they make the perfect friend combination.
On that note, here is a list of ten famous rapper’s favorite NBA teams:
10. Drake – Toronto Raptors
Everyone knows Drake is from Toronto, but what many people don’t know about the ‘Nothing Was the Same’ rapper is that he is a global ambassador and executive for the Toronto Raptors. Drake is constantly seen sitting courtside at the Air Canada Centre to show his love for his hometown team and the Raptors seem to really appreciate his support. In fact, there are rumors circulating that the Raptors are creating new Drake-inspired uniforms in black and gold, the color of Drake’s “OVO” label. By naming Drake as an executive for their team, the Raptors hope to change their image to be more hip and appealing to younger fans.
9. Snoop Dogg – Los Angeles Lakers
Snoop Dogg was born and raised in Long Beach, California, so it’s only natural that he’s a huge Lakers fan. He is a regular at the Staples Center, but only to attend Lakers games. Sorry Clippers! In response to the Lakers poor season, Snoop recently took to Instagram in an attempt to persuade Russell Westbrook to join the purple and gold nation. The post featured a picture of Westbrook, who will be a free agent in 2017, photo shopped with a Lakers jersey on. That’s not all Snoop has done to prove the West coast is the best coast. This ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ rapper even collaborated with Ice Cube, a gigantic Lakers fan himself, to create the ‘LA Lakers Anthem.’
8. Rick Ross – Miami Heat
When it comes to the Miami Heat, rapper Rick Ross gets very serious. Ross, who lived in Carol City, Florida for most of his life, wanted to do something to permanently show his NBA loyalty. When I say “permanently” I mean, he got a tattoo of the Miami Heat logo on his face. Aside from sitting court side at American Airlines arena in Miami, Ross has given the city several shout-outs in his songs, including the song ‘Port of Miami.’ The music mogul even made a hefty $100,000 bet with Jalen Rose at the beginning of the 2014 season saying the Heat would have a better record than the Cavaliers at the end of the season. Although Ross’s bet was a downright waste of money and just embarrassing, at least he can say he isn’t a fair weather fan.
7. 2 Chainz – Atlanta Hawks
The rapper 2 Chainz, a huge Atlanta Hawks fan, is most likely still mourning the recent playoff elimination of his beloved team. Born in College Park, Georgia, 2 Chainz has native ties to the Hawks and shows his support through his music and social media accounts. What a “TRUUU” fan. This Southern hip-hop artist was even CEO of the Hawks for a day after he beat Dominique “The Human Highlight Film” Wilkins in a game of H-O-R-S-E. In 2012, 2 Chainz performed three times at Hawks home games and significantly boosted ticket sales that night. Hopefully, if the Hawks continue to lead the Eastern Conference like they did this season, they will add another championship to their name, giving them 2 RINGZ.
6. Eminem – Detroit Pistons
If you’ve seen the movie Eight Mile, you know Eminem grew up in Detroit, Michigan. The real Slim Shady is a real Detroit fan, as he has made numerous songs in support of his Pistons including ‘Bezerk’ and ‘Survival.’ The Pistons have mutual respect for the rapper and responded to Eminem’s song ‘Bezerk’ by making their own version featuring their mascot Hooper and center Andre Drummond. Although he is not usually seen out and about, Eminem has made many appearances at Pistons home games and has sported Pistons t-shirts in his music videos. It’s fitting that this “Bad Boy” rapper loves the Pistons “Bad Boys” of the late 1980s and ’90s.
5. Nelly – Charlotte Hornets
Although Nelly was born in St. Louis, Missouri, this ‘Hot in Here’ rapper is an avid fan of the Charlotte Hornets. I’m not really sure how Nelly’s love for the Hornets originated, since he has no native ties to North Carolina, but his fandom isn’t to be questioned. Nelly is actually one of the part owners for the Hornets and has been since 2004. Who knew? After Charlotte made the transition from the Bobcats to the Hornets in 2014, new owner Michael Jordan chose to keep Nelly aboard as a part owner. Nelly takes his job as an owner and fan very seriously, as he often makes court side appearances at games and stayed loyal during the Bobcats’ worst season in NBA history when they went 7-59 (2011-2012).
4. Kanye West – Chicago Bulls
Chicago is the city that rap artist, record producer, and fashion icon Kanye West calls home. He moved there when he was just 3-years old and has used the windy city as inspiration for several of his songs. During the 2014-2015 season playoffs, Mr. West conducted a surprise performance for his hometown Chicago Bulls crowd in a game against the Cavaliers, which you can see here. Kanye sat next to Bulls’ legend Scottie Pippen for most of the game and did his best to amp up the crowd. Since we all know how rare it is to see Kanye smile in public, the fact that he was laughing and beaming at this Bulls’ game, goes to show that they bring out the best in Yeezy. Or maybe he was just thinking about his wife, Kim Kardashian.
3. Lil B – Golden State Warriors
Ahh, finally, we get to Lil B, also known as the rapper responsible for cursing James Harden and Kevin Durant. Lil B, whose real name is Brandon McCartney, was born in Berkeley, California and is a passionate Golden State Warriors fan. He’s so passionate about the Warriors that during the 2015 postseason, he put curses on their Western conference series opponents, the Houston Rockets. More specifically, he cursed James Harden. “The Based God” claimed that Harden stole his cooking dance move and boldly stated on Twitter that if Harden didn’t own up to his mistake then he would curse him. Harden did not respond to Lil B, therefore the almighty “Based God” cursed him following Game 3 of the series. Did the curse work? I’ll let you decide. In Game 5 of the series Harden set a playoff record for the most turnovers (13) and the Rockets lost the game and series to the Warriors.
2. Juicy J – Memphis Grizzlies
If you want live game updates for the Memphis Grizzlies, just follow Juicy J on Twitter. This former Three 6 Mafia member was born in North Memphis, Tennessee and is not ashamed to show his Grizzlies pride. In his hit song ‘Bounce It’, the rapper spits a line that says “catch me at that Memphis game, seats saved by Rudy” as in Rudy Gay, the former Memphis small forward. The 40-year old rapper gives shout outs to center Marc Gasol and former point guard Josh Selby in the song as well. This season, Juicy J was very active on Twitter during the Grizzlies’ impressive playoff run. When they were eliminated by the Warriors, he tweeted “Grizz will beat everybody next year bet on it.” Even if his prediction is a little bold, you have to love Juicy J’s undeniable optimism and support for his team.
1. Jay Z – Brooklyn Nets
Iconic rapper, producer, and Brooklyn’s finest, Jay-Z was the first rapper to ever be a part owner of an NBA team. This New York native and husband to R&B diva Beyonce, bought a stake of the Nets in January 2004 and was one of the reasons the team changed locations from New Jersey to Brooklyn. Although he recently sold his shares in the team, he stated in an interview with MTV that he will be a “Net fan forever.” Jay-Z is still involved with the Nets, however, as he owns a share of the Barclays Center and will be seated courtside for the majority of the regular season.
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