Rappers want to be ball players and ball players want to be rappers, there is no doubt about that. The correlation between the NBA and the Rap game has always been there, whether an artist names a song after one of their favorite hoopers or when a rapper takes their talents to the hardwood for a pick-up game or two, it is inevitable.
Since the game has changed and the culture of rap has changed over the years, these current NBA Stars have drawn some similar comparisons to their rap counterparts, with their style of play, the hype surrounding them, and the impact that they have in their respective industries.
Here are a few comparisons between NBA stars and the artists that resemble them the most on and off the court…
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Rapper Comparison: Drake
It’s pretty obvious on this comparison between LeBron James and Drake, both are the currently at the top of their careers and have been for quite some time now, and both are incredible to watch and or listen to. Whether it is LeBron dropping the hammer on the defense or Drake dropping a new single everybody who is anybody tunes in. Not to mention both “treat their city like some shoulder pads” (Drake- “Successful“), LeBron and Drake both rep their hometowns to the fullest, with LeBron finally bringing a championship to “The Land” and with Drake hosting the 2016 NBA All-Star Game in “The Six”. As much hate as both of these dudes receive, you have to respect their craft, their brand, and what they produce. For LeBron its consistency of reaching the Finals year after year, and with Drake it is making hit after hit after hit.
Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
Rapper Comparison: Future
KD has always been an amazing and exciting player to watch throughout his career, from his rookie days in Seattle to finally winning a ring with the Warriors. Durant has always had his time to shine and has the accolades to show for it, Rookie of the Year, multiple scoring titles, multiple First Team All-NBA selections, MVP, Finals MVP, and the list goes on and on. His skill set is also undeniable, Durant is a talent the league has not seen before, a guy nearly 7-feet tall who can spread the floor and hit shots from anywhere on the court. Enter Future Hendrix, the Atlanta rapper who has changed the rap game in a similar way KD has, with his versatility with singing, making hooks, and spitting out legendary verses and songs such as “March Madness” and “Turn Off the Lights”, that took him to the top of the rap game. From 2015-2017 Future has dropped over 10 projects, and with hit singles such as “Mask Off” and “Wicked” yet like Durant, Future does not get the recognition as the best rapper or artist in the game today.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Rapper Comparison: Kendrick Lamar
With hits and moves that make your jaw drop, and the cultural impact both have, Curry is the Kendrick Lamar of the NBA and vise-versa. Kendrick and Steph rep their respective parts of California to the utmost (KDot/LA and Curry/The Bay Area). Both have brought in fans from different parts of the country and even the world together. With their dominance in their industries coming out of nowhere, both are very similar. Curry sweeps fans of their feet with his long-range shooting and his wide array of moves to get to the basket on anyone and score at will, while Kendrick Lamar drops albums and singles with different styles, flows, and beats that make any rap fan or critic’s hair stand up. Not to mention when playing with another superstar or featured on a track, neither are ever overlooked. With the Warriors signing Durant, Curry never truly took a backseat to KD and continued to shake and bake defenders, and with Kendrick being featured on tracks such as “Goosebumps” by Travis Scott, Lamar had his listeners shook with his nasty flow and change of tone mid-verse.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Rapper Comparison: Young Thug
Explosive, exciting, vicious, and a personality like no other, the 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook is Young Thug. Westbrook and Young Thug are both unique in their own right, both have styles that may have you going “is he seriously wearing that?” but that’s what makes them who they are. Russ and Thugger are arguably the most fun to watch and or listen to in their industries, both will be on attack mode 100% of the time and there is not a chance anyone is getting in their way. The quick, unorthodox delivery and flow of Young Thug combined with his ability to make legendary hooks and choruses is exactly the way Russell Westbrook plays every game. With his highlight reel dunks, shots, and passes, Westbrook has gained a huge fan-base but also a ton of critics who are on Russell’s back for not being efficient at times and or not making the “right play”. Sound familiar? Young Thug is on the same boat for having fans of his songs and albums but is heavily criticized for his nontraditional sound.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Rapper Comparison: Gucci Mane
Legendary, a perfect word to describe both Dirk Nowitzki and Gucci Mane. Both are pioneers in the game, with Dirk being one of, if not the greatest player from Europe and Gucci Mane who has been running the rap game in East Atlanta’s Zone 6. Dirk and Gucci are both highly respected and looked up to by their peers. Both have also inspired and influenced a new wave of rappers and ball players coming into the league and the rap game. As individuals their talents and skills are somewhat underrated. To many, it is shocking to hear that Dirk Nowitzki is the 6th all-time leading scorer in NBA history, yes Dirk has more points than Shaq, LeBron, Hakeem, and Oscar Robertson. Not to forget that Dirk also has a chance to pass up Wilt Chamberlain and potentially Michael Jordan in scoring if he plays a couple more seasons. With Gucci, it is crazy to think that as of 2017 he has made 10 studio albums and 72 mixtapes, he also has over 1,000 songs made. Nowitzki and Gucci Mane both have legendary moments and images as well, with Dirk taking down LeBron, Wade, and Bosh in the 2011 NBA Finals, and of course Gucci Mane showing off his insane collection of chains, rings, and wrist wear during shows and concerts.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Rapper Comparison: Quavo (Migos)
Culture changing and versatile, two things both Bucks Point Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Migos’ Quavo have in common which makes for the perfect comparison. Giannis has completely turned the Bucks’ franchise around, turning them from a border line playoff team, to a legit top-four seed in the Eastern Conference. The “Greek Freak” does it all for the Bucks, playing position-less basketball, and it has been noticed throughout the league, earning him the Most Improved Player Award. The bus doesn’t stop there for Giannis, stating that he is going for the MVP award this upcoming season. For Quavo and the Migos, the potential was always there after hits such as “Versace” featuring Drake, “Fight Night”, and “Handsome and Wealthy” but in 2016 going into 2017 the “Culture” was created. After the Migos’ biggest single yet “Bad and Boujee” was released the Migos’ fan base and popularity sky-rocketed. Quavo, like Giannis is one of the most versatile rappers in the game today with his unique voice, flow, ad-libs, and punchlines that stick in your head for days.
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Rapper Comparison: Travis Scott
“James Harden with the Range on me, Way back”. The H-Town Connection of James Harden and Travis Scott goes hand in hand. Both are one of the best in the game today, both have certain skills that are almost unmatched, and both can have crowds roaring like no other. Harden is one of the smoothest and creative players in the league today, with his signature crossovers, step backs, and Euro-steps that have fans screaming and defenders hollering for help. Travis is also smooth with his flow and singing ability, yet Trav, like Harden has a crowd roaring effect in a lot of his work as well. He also has his signature ad-libs and sayings he mentions in most of his songs. The Rockets relied on Harden to make plays for others as well, by leading the NBA in assists per game this season, Travis does the same by bringing in other artists to work with, on his latest album “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” Scott featured artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Quavo, Young Thug, Kid Cudi, 21 Savage, Nav, and the Weeknd to bolster each track.
-Written By Daniel Malakismail