Drake once said, "I swear sports and music are so synonymous, cause we want to be them, and they want to be us". Basketball and rap music have gone hand in hand for years. It's no coincidence that out of all major sports, the NBA have had the most amount of players who have tried to make it in the rap game. Every rapper has his favorite NBA team and every player promotes his favorite rapper, this can be seen with Jay-Z and the Nets, Drake and the Raptors, and many more. Athletes and entertainers for the most part have gotten along, but no two groups do it like NBA players and rappers.
Like MJ did with baseball, some people just want to show they are not a one-trick pony and that they have other skills beyond the hardwood of the NBA. The problem is, most people who dominate in something can't just decide they want to dominate in something else. There is a few exception to this, but none of these exceptions are NBA players who have tested out rapping. The NBA has produced a multitude of players who have tried their luck in rapping. In most cases, NBA rappers are laughable, but a couple of people have really showed that they can rap as well as playing professional basketball. This list is based on the quality of the actual music and the amount of sales or popularity the songs ended up getting.
Here are the top 15 NBA players who attempted rap careers.
15 Delonte West
Many things can be said about Delonte West, whether speeding on his motorcycle with guns on him to having an alleged affair with teammate LeBron James' mother, West has definitely been a character. During the 2011 NBA lockout, West released a couple songs off of his unreleased mixtape, Lockout. After listening to his song "Livin Life Fast," it was easy to make the decision of West being #15 on this list. It was a laughable song with very corny and simplistic rap lines and the music video featured West playing a arcade racing game...not actually "Livin Life Fast".
14 Steve Francis
Early in Steve Francis' NBA career, it looked like the league had itself a real star. It was a shame that injuries shut him down to soon which ended his young career. It also is a shame that we had to listen to his music because he had so much free time after retiring so early. In 2012, he released "Finer Things" which was just bad. The song is about him trying to win over some girl by showing her how rich he is. This idea was very original...not. Also it's hard to be a rapper with a name like Steve Francis, no offense to any Steves out there. The songs not good and I think he realizes that since he hasn't made anything since.
13 Tony Parker
Tony Parker is a quiet NBA player so I wouldn't have thought that he really tried to have a rap career. The key word here is tried. Parker released TP in 2007 which was just awful. Every rap was off-beat and just none of it sounded right. It's all in French so it's hard to understand what he was saying, but I'm betting it wasn't very good based on how he is so off beat. Tony Parker should stick to winning games with the Spurs, because he definitely isn't winning anything with the microphone.
12 Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant has been apart of a couple different songs, but his "Worried About Tomorrow" he dropped in 2012, was by far his best. The song was very good and Durant really shined during his verse. He rapped about him staying humble throughout his career even though he is in a position where people become obsessed with fame. Sadly, Durant hasn't released anything since this song. KD is very determined to bring a championship to OKC right now, so we might have to wait a while before we get to hear any new Kevin Durant raps.
11 Allen Iverson (Jewels)
Allen Iverson may be the most influential basketball player ever considering the way he brought the street and the hardwood together. He had to at least try a rap career because he was Allen Iverson, he embodied the hip-hop persona and did it while dominating the basketball world. His debut album Jewels(2000), was never released because of David Stern and the NBA. The music contained homophobic references and was filled with promoting violence. He has released multiple different rap songs but none of them ever caught any traction. You would think that if any NBA player could make it in the rap game, it would be Allen Iverson. Sadly, Iverson doesn't have the answer on why he isn't a successful rapper.
10 Kobe Bryant
Yes, even the great Kobe Bryant tried his luck on the mic. His music wasn't awful, but Kobe should have just stayed on the hardwood. His debut album Visions (2000), which was never mass produced, was just not great and you could tell that Kobe was acting different then who he really is. One of his songs was even called "Thug Poet". The irony in this is, Kobe is no thug, or no poet for this matter. His single for the album "K.O.B.E", featured Tyra Banks, which was not a good choice as he was going for a more hardcore style. He should have just spit solid, simple bars, but it came off just sounding a little awkward for the Black Mamba. Nobody's perfect.
9 Iman Shumpert
In 2012, Shumpert began showing his rap skill as he flowed over multiple different beats. One of older songs, "Promised", has about 600K views on Youtube which is pretty respectable for an NBA rapper. He also remixed Drake and Futures popular "Jumpman" song with his own twist, "Shumpman". We can say he is not the greatest rapper ever, but he definitely is one of the best rappers in the NBA currently only behind Damian Lillard(Dame D.O.L.L.A).
8 Lance Stephenson (Born Ready)
After Lance released his very successful remix to Bobby Shmurda's "Hot N****," he released "Poppin" last June which didn't turn very many heads. From Coney Island, Brooklyn, Stephenson has been rapping since he was very young. You probably couldn't tell though because his raps sound very simple and have no real feeling to them. For such an animated player, his raps were very under-delivered. There is some potential for Born Ready so hopefully he releases some more tracks soon.
7 Stephen Jackson (Stak5)
Stephen Jackson has been recording music for about 15 years and has really started to hone his craft. A trap style rapper, such as Young Thug or Future, he really can flow on a beat which a lot of other NBA rappers can't seem to perfect. His pretty good rapping skills has gotten him involved with many famous artists such as T.I. and Jeezy. Even though Jackson is pretty musically talented, none of his rap projects never really saw big numbers.
6 Marquis Daniels (Q6)
Marquis Daniels was never widely known in the NBA, and was a quiet player who stayed away from the spotlight. His rap ego Q6 on the other hand, is about everything that Marquis seemed he wouldn't be into. Daniels is pretty much a generic trap style rapper who only talks about gang life, women, cars, etc. It really isn't bad, but we have enough guys rapping about their Lamborghinis. He made many songs in the early 2000s and even made a track called "Boolin," with Stephen Jackson, who is another player on this list. Now at the age of 35, it looks like we won't hear any more of Q6.
5 Metta World Peace (Ron Artest)
From the Queensbridge Projects, Metta World Peace has been rapping since he was young. His first album My World(2006), was very unsuccessful and didn't catch much buzz for Metta. Undiscouraged, Metta used the excitement of the Lakers winning the 2010 NBA championship to headline his song, "Champions". In my opinion, "Champions" is a great song with good punchlines and is extremely catchy. It even got a spot on NBA 2k11's soundtrack and was then widely known by people from all around the world. Metta hasn't released anything very recently but he definitely has something in the works.
4 Lou Williams
Even last year's Sixth Man of the Year has dabbled in rap. While he played in Philadelphia for the Sixers, he became friends with Philly Rapper Meek Mill. Meek got Lou Williams to hop into the recording booth as they recorded the song, "I Want It All". In my opinion, the song is very good. Williams is very upbeat and he delivered his rap perfectly on beat. The only problem is that you can tell Meek had a lot of influence on Lou's rap style, because he sounds just like Meek Mill when he raps. After only hearing Lou's first song, I would love for him to make a couple more to see if his first success wasn't just a fluke.
3 Chris Webber (C. Webb)
Six years after his infamous timeout call, Webber hopped in the recording booth to test out his rap skills. His single "Gansta! Gansta!" off of his album 2 Much Drama, reached #10 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles. The song was well made and could pass for a rapper who has been rapping professionally for years, maybe not a great one, but at least a real rapper. Featuring rap legend Kurupt, Webber is able to hold his own and deliveries some well timed punchlines. Webber has now retired from both the NBA and the rap game as he is now a NBA analyst.
2 Damian Lillard (Dame D.O.L.L.A)
Damian Lillard isn't just a superstar on the NBA court, he is the NBA's best rapper right now. He started up #4barFriday on Instagram which has grown into a weekly ritual for Lillard. The hashtag was becoming widely known and Dame was invited on Sway in the Morning. He didn't no crack under pressure as he was amazing live on the mic on Sway's radio show. Lillard also didn't rap about usual rapper topics such as guns, money, and women, he rapped about his struggle growing up in Oakland. After his success on Sway, Lillard made an Instagram where he has dropped multiple good songs and he claims to be in the making of a mixtape. Now this guy can actually rap and play ball.
1 Shaquille O'Neal
Shaq is not only one of the greatest NBA players of all-time, he is the greatest NBA rapper ever. Everybody loves Shaq so we would still probably think his music was good, even if it wasn't. But we aren't faced with this dilemma considering Shaq can spit bars and has record sales to show it. His debut album, Shaq Diesel (1993), went platinum and his follow up album Shaq Fu: Da Return (1994), went gold. His songs were very upbeat and he rapped like the usual early 90's rapper with using onomatopoeia. Even giving some words his own Shaq twist such as "superShaqifragilisitcexpiallidopeness". His raps were funny and he didn't talk about anything explicit and it was definitely something everyone could enjoy.