Tonight was the NBA draft, which might be the most exciting day in the NBA off-season. It’s the night that essentially sets the tone for the upcoming year, with all types of franchise altering decisions happening, from once-in-a-generation talent being picked, to major trades that can completely make or break your team’s upcoming season (see: The Chicago Bulls).
Tonight was a showcase of a fairly talented draft class, with the top 5 pick being Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox. It got me thinking though. What would happen if we were drafting rappers instead of college athletes?
Hip-hop and basketball go almost hand in hand, from Kurtis Blow’s iconic ode to the game and Lil Bow Wow’s early 2000s interpolation, to popular hip-hop songs often serving as the soundtrack to the NBA season, with ‘Magnolia’ and ‘DNA.’ being the main songs used during this year’s NBA Finals promos, so it makes sense that many rappers partake in the game itself.
Many of today’s most popular rappers play during their free time, but who would be the ones dressed up for draft night had they decided to pursue basketball instead of music? This list attempts to answer that question. So without any further ado, here are your top 5 NBA draft picks if we were picking rappers:
The consensus number 1, Romeo actually played D-I basketball at the University of South California where he was teammates with close friend and NBA All-Star DeMar Derozan, which automatically makes him the most overqualified prospect in this hypothetical draft. Romeo is also a regular at the Celebrity All-star game and he’s clearly sits in the top tier of celebrity players. Also, the fact that his father is rap legend and former NBA pro (for like 3 preseason games) Master P, the two would easily rival Lonzo and Lavar Ball has the most iconic father-son duo in today’s NBA.
2. 2 Chainz
Below is the only known footage of 2 Chainz playing in an organized game (numbered 21), and it shows him smacking a three and dunking like his name is Kevin Durant. The artist formerly known as Tity Boi was good enough to play basketball at a D-I school, albeit a smaller program in Alabama State University, but he left after his freshman year (like a true NBA prospect). He’s also 39, which is pretty old in basketball years, but despite his age, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest he has gas in the tank. From beating fellow Atlanta legend and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins in a game of ‘HORSE’ to babying former Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Champion Kevin Garnett in the post, it’s as clear as day that the College Park native can still ball.
Killa Cam wasn’t just wrecking dudes in the rap game, but he was really outchea breaking ankles on the court too. The basketball career of Cameron Giles was short-lived, but it sure was accomplished. During his high school career, Cam’ron established himself as one of the best players in New York, and while teamed up with fellow rap legend, Ma$e, he actually led his high school squad to the Public Schools Athletic Class A championship. He was even tasked with shooting the final game-winning shot, but unfortunately, he just didn’t have that shooter’s touch. However, he not only beat Stephon Marbury’s squad to get to the title game, but according to the Diplomat rapper himself, he dominated the former NBA pro/Chinese basketball league legend, which is actually a really dope/wild thing to have on your resume. (Skip to 1:55 for highlights)
4. J. Cole
The Fayetteville rapper’s love of basketball is well documented. With each of his first three mixtape covers featuring an overt basketball theme and North Carolina Tar Heel games being one of the few public events he’s willing to go out of hiding for, it’s clear that the sport is more than a game to Cole. His basketball career is that of an underdog though. He got cut twice by his high school team, but like a true Rudy Ruettiger, he came back again and eventually made the team in his senior year, showing his commitment to the grind of refining one’s skills. He also played in the 2012 Celebrity All-Star game where he displayed his athleticism by dunking on national television, which is possibly the second most impressive accomplishment anyone on this list has (nothing will ever beat the image of Cam’ron breaking Stephon Marbury’s ankles).
God bless and protect Quavious Keyate Marshall, for there is nothing he cannot do well. Not only is the Migos rapper one of the hottest names in all of hip-hop, but he might be the best athlete. Unlike the other names on this list, there is no known evidence of Quavo playing in any organized league, which is the reason he’s not number 1, but recent videos floating around the internet show that he is no stranger to the game by any means. He’s essentially the equivalent to that raw European player that no one in America knows about, but there’s hella highlight reels of him outmatching the hell of his competition (see: Kristaps Porzingis). Earlier this year, the hook god was seen outlasting fellow Migos member Offset, Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner, and Chance The Rapper in a game of knockout, he embarrassed Tory Lanez in one-on-one, he’s showed off his handles in a team pickup game, and now just this past week, he was seen balling up with Arizona prospect and son of Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef O’Neal. He might be the biggest risk since he does not necessarily have the same experience as everyone on this list, but I think it’s safe to say he has the most upside in this draft class.