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Getting championship rings, MVP awards, and All-Star invites are all great, but NBA players they’ve made it only when they were in a legitimate NBA reference from a respectable rap artist. The sport and the music genre just gel together perfectly. Some players like Damian Lillard and Iman Shumpert do both, Jay-Z is a partial owner of the Brooklyn Nets, and we often see artists on the side court.
But a very important feature of the connection between rap and basketball is the NBA reference, a subsection of the rap game that surely gives out bragging rights on the training courts. Often enough players get their own songs completely, like LeBron James’ Forever, which was made directly for him, or Lil Dicky’s Russell Westbrook analogy song.
Here, we take a look at the little NBA reference nuggets in songs that are not all about the league or the game. The ones that make sports fans smile while listening to the song for the first time.
The Best NBA References in Rap
‘It’s ironic, I had the brew, she had the chronic
The Lakers beat the Supersonics’
Get me on the court and I’m trouble
Last week, fucked around and got a triple double
Freakin’ niggas every way, like MJ
I can’t believe today was a good day
The legendary track has not one, but two NBA references, the first one being nostalgic for the Seattle basketball fans even though they’ve lost, the second a classic Michael Jordan shout out.
My team in the cut, packing middle things
I’ve got more foreign shooters than the Sacramento Kings
Some sweet NBA knowledge dropped here. Who doesn’t remember Peja Stojakovic?
Simple and plain – give me the lane
I’ll throw it down your throat like Barkley
A hard song and a surprising NBA reference as you wouldn’t expect something like this from Public Enemy.
Livin’ the good life, me and Common on common ground
I spit crack, and niggas could drive it out of town
Got a Chris Paul mindstate, I’m never out of bounds
The Game represents the then another Los Angeles representative Chris Paul, highlighting his dribbling skills on the court.
So I must be Klay with the .38, Thompson with the Thompson
Everything about me Compton, I mean everything about me Bompton
This is a reference to one of the best shooters ever in the NBA – Klay Thompson, and the Golden State Warrior player shares the name with an old, popular machine gun, so it’s a really clever NBA reference.