As the saying goes… ballers want to be rappers and rappers want to the ballers, and it’s in honor of all of those talented individuals that we present to you 10 athletes who tried rapping. This list is not to be confused with 10 athletes who should not have tried rapping, so before all of our readers here at The Sportster go off in the comments section about whether or not these tracks qualify as legitimate rap songs, please note that we are not looking for the athlete who will most likely get a major label record deal out of his hip hop pursuits. This list is mainly chocked full of gentlemen who at least gave the craft an honest attempt.
Let’s face it, rap music is a genre dominated by African-Americans, so naturally one might expect that most of these aspiring rap artists would come from sports dominated by African-Americans, most notably the NBA and the NFL. If you are assuming that you would be correct, but that doesn’t mean we’re starting off the list that way. It actually begins with a soccer star believe it or not.
Following the 10 spot, all but one position on this list features either an NBA or NFL player. Shout out to Lastings Milledge for representing the MLB. Two sports associations most notably absent from this list include the NHL and NASCAR. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise to you. Again we don’t mean to stereotype things here but African-American culture isn’t exactly booming in those other two sports. Before you yourself try rapping, or balling for that matter, keep in mind that these men are really talented, and also they are already famous for being good at one thing if not the rapping…so kids be smart, and don’t try this at home
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11 Dishonorable Mention: Stephon Marbury
Quick, name a 6-year-old who raps better than former NBA guard turned Chinese basketball legend Stephon Marbury. It shouldn’t take you that long to come up with like 100 different 6-year-olds you know that can rap better than Starbury. He’s that bad. The only credit we give him in this video is that he clearly is rapping off the top of his head, something that a lot of other rappers take credit for but don’t actually do. Other than that, this effort is just weak. There’s a good chance that if you were a big fan of rap music before hearing Marbury, you’re considering making a permanent switch and choosing a new favorite genre of music. Stephon bit off more than he could chew in the NBA and his attitude cause his career to crumble. His rap music on the other hand caused our ears to bleed.
10 Clint Dempsey
Who would have thought that the captain of the American National soccer team would dabble in rap music? It’s true. Clint Dempsey gives us his best effort in this video. Obviously the best part of the whole track is the video itself, but Dempsey does take a good shot at being grimy. His style and portrayal in this video actually makes sense given that he’s from Texas. Clearly he’s inspired by the unique southern sound that gave rise to rappers like Master P in the mid 90s.
9 Kevin Durant
Apparently LeBron James isn’t the only MVP caliber NBA star who likes to put a few lines together every once in a while. It makes complete sense that we would put both him and Oklahoma City thunder superstar Kevin Durant on this list. The two compete against each other not only in NBA league play, but also during the off-season. Listening to Durant show off his skills here makes us wonder if the two would ever battle on the microphone.
8 Allen Iverson
By far one of the more gangsta rappers on this list, former Philadelphia 76ers great Allen Iverson unleashes some hard-hitting lyrics in this freestyle. Few people may know this but he was actually a fantastic football player growing up as well. To say the least, The Answer was a man of many talents in his heyday. Of anybody featured in this top 10, Iverson probably scores the best when it comes to being good at both basketball and making rap records. Whether he is or not depends on whether or not you like hard-core rap.
7 Baron Davis
One surefire way to tell that a guy can’t exactly freestyle is when you hear him rhyme the same words over and over again. Here’s former NBA shooting guard Baron Davis giving it his best shot nonetheless. He can’t rap but he does have a lot of famous friends and one of them is West Coast rapper The Game. After watching this short clip though, it’s obvious that no matter how good their friendship is, The Game will probably never let Davis get on an actual single with him. Davis is by all accounts a nice guy, but he’s not the nicest when it comes to rhyming, which is all that matters in hip-hop music.
6 Ron Artest
Fears of a beauty of a song put together by former lLos Angeles Lakers guard Ron Artest. It’s all about being a champion and as everyone in the hip-hop game knows, if you can brag about your skills and then flash the jewels to prove it, you’ve got instant street credibility. We wouldn’t go that far with any baller who tries to rap because at the end of the day, being a sub-par rapper isn’t covered up by those same jewels, but Artest isn’t the worst rapper in the world either. Good on him for keeping it real with the homies and including them in the video.
5 Lastings Milledge
Lastings Milledge used to be an outfielder for the New York Mets among other teams and the last time anybody ever knew what he was doing, he was playing ball in Japan. With a song like this classic “Bend Ya Knees”, it’s probably good for Milledge that he’s on the other side of the ocean now, because if he was still in New York, he would have a tough time running out into the outfield without getting drilled by a beer bottle courtesy a drunken fan. His baseball skills were average and his rapping skills are far below that.
4 Delonte West
Here’s Delonte West and his buddy doing what a lot of us do with our buddies while waiting at a drive-through window…rapping. First of all, speaking of his buddy, the guy looks like he’s way out of it and without a doubt so is Delonte. West does display some skills but when you have no choice but to rap in slow motion, it’s obvious that your brain can’t keep up with your mouth or the other way around. He’s not the worst we’ve ever seen, but he’s bad enough to get into that territory.
3 Terrell Owens
The sad thing about famous rappers and athletes is that no matter how much they brag and boast about being the best, or about how much money and women they get, we watched some of them on TV and listen to them and inevitably know that they will end up broke somehow. Anybody who thought that about former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens would now be correct. Here he is with his single “I’m Back”, a song he recorded after re-signing with the Dallas Cowboys for a large amount of money that he would eventually watch go down the drain.
2 LeBron James
LeBron James is a very self-aware man and rap music is a great way to express oneself. He is rapping to a beat originally used by rap stars Jay-Z and Rick Ross. James does indeed have a recording studio inside his mansion, so one can bet that he had plenty of opportunities to practice before releasing this song to the public. Unfortunately he probably wasn’t able to swear as much as he wanted to (he didn’t cuss at all), but that’s what happens when you’re a global icon and very brand conscious. Obviously LeBron will never be known as a rapper but it’s cool to see him give it a go.
1 Shaquille O’Neal
Anything you can do Shaquille O’Neal can do better. He’s one of the greatest centers in NBA history and become a solid contributor to NBA on TNT broadcasts as an analyst. He’s been featured in movies and TV commercials and whether he was playing good or bad at any given moment, Shaq always seemed to shine bright in the spotlight. There is a video of him doing his thing with Bun B and underground sensation Papoose. Don’t be fooled by the fact that he’s only a complementary part of the song. Shaq gained plenty of experience being the main man in many of his own music videos.
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