Tag Archives: National Basketball Association

Rappers as Ballers: A Comparative Exercise

By Jake Sweltz

Like most hoops fans, I always get a little depressed after the NBA Finals are over, and so to distract myself from the barren wasteland of late summer sports coverage, I started dreaming up analogies likening various NBA stars to major figures in hip-hop music.  Here are some of the most interesting cases:

black-thoughtDuncan

Black Thought : Tim Duncan – One of the problems with being consistent is that you end up consistently under appreciated.  Both of these living legends eventually sacrificed their place at center stage to become invisible, disappearing in their roles as specialized components of a transcendent collaborative unit.  It’s a beautiful thing.

kanyeKobe

Kanye West : Kobe Bryant Three ways to describe these two towering cultural icons: perpetually divisive, obnoxiously egocentric, and undeniably brilliant.  Calling them “competitive” would be an understatement.  Kobe and Yeezus both work harder than anyone else in the game to stay on top.  Plus, everyone knows how much these guys love to mean mug.  And they’re masterful at it.

weezy

melo

Lil Wayne : Carmelo Anthony – Just look at these guys.  Obvious commonalities include: cocksure attitudes, love of the spotlight, and a certain brand of IDGAF exuberance that’s just downright endearing.  Performance-wise, they both seem to phone it in half the time, but hey, at least they’re always good for a few fun highlights along the way.

dre-3k

rose

Andre 3000 : Derrick Rose – “C’MON WHERE YOU BEEN MAN??!?!!??!?!”  Seriously, it’s been far too long since we had these artists of the form(s) in our lives.  Come back to us, please.  Give the people what they want.  (Note: Rose analogy also applicable to the immortal Mos Def/Yasiin Bey)

drakeblake

Drake : Blake Griffin – Two big softies with even bigger fan bases who show flashes of true brilliance, but still probably aren’t quite as talented as they think they are.  Either way, they both always manage to come off a little douchey.  (Note: Blake analogy also applicable to despicable yet charming G.O.O.D. Music associate Big Sean)

kendrick

durant

Kendrick Lamar : Kevin Durant – “Innovative young guns poised to take over the game,” say their disciples.  “Talented, but more than a little overrated,” respond their detractors.  EIther way, you can’t deny the spark these two bring when they step in the arena.  (Note: the K-Dot analogy is also applicable to the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry)

j-cole

dwight

J. Cole : Dwight Howard – Built up by early hype as future legends, these two have each either plateaued or stalled out somewhere along the way.  They’re both still looking to find that right balance of ability on the court/mic and likability offstage, but it’s becoming increasingly uncertain whether either of them will ever actually make “the leap” to true greatness.

tyga

deron

Tyga : Deron Williams – Ok, here’s how the typical experience of listening to Tyga rhyme slash watching Deron Williams play basketball plays out in my head: “Goddamn, does this dude ever actually exert any effort at what he does?  I swear, I just don’t understand how this guy ever got to be a professional–HOLY SHITBALLS THAT WAS FREAKING AMAZING.”  Rack City, bitch.

waka

javale

Waka Flocka Flame : JaVale McGee – Lovable buffoons who probably don’t belong on the radio/basketball court, but they always make you smile so what the hell.  (Note: Waka analogy also applicable to Ronny Turiaf or anybody on the Sacramento Kings)

jeezydavid-westYoung Jeezy : David West – Neither of these gents are particularly showy, but they’re steady in the pocket and stick to what they do well.  Aesthetically and stylistically, they’re both also nondescript and vaguely thuggish.

ghost

Kevin Garnett

Ghostface Killah : Kevin Garnett – What can I say?  Both these guys are intensity personified.  Alternately goofy and terrifying,  these two have been doing it for years and show no signs of stopping, despite diminishing returns with each album/season.

rick-ross

boozer

Rick Ross : Carlos Boozer – Besides the ubiquitous body ink, the baldness, and the hilarious facial hair, both of these would-be badasses started out as industry laughing stocks who eventually became indispensable fixtures on their respective teams, seemingly by default.  They’re each probably way more calculating about their absurd images than they let on.

q-tip

andre-miller

Q-Tip : Andre Miller – The veteran professors of their respective industries.   Both Miller and the Abstract have always been heady players, and they have each built fruitful and lucrative careers out of being brainy rather than brawny.

nas

cp3

NaS : Chris Paul – What we have here are two stubborn, embattled icons of the game who everyone agrees should probably get even more recognition than they already do for being so great, even as their careers remain bizarrely and frustratingly stunted by a number of strange industry factors.

jay-z

lebron

Jay-Z : LeBron James – Well, this one’s pretty obvious, right?  I know a lot of people would probably choose Kanye as LeBron’s hip-hop spirit animal, but look a little closer.  These two are literally the Kings of their respective domains.  Each of them are automatically the most relevant figures in the game, as well as the most recognizable among both casual fans and diehards alike.  There is simply no better comparison; these men are the Alpha Dogs.

all images courtesy of images.google.com

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L.A. Clippers: Flop Gods

By Jake Sweltz

This post is inspired by Grantland’s Zach Lowe, who yesterday indirectly labeled the Clips “flop gods of the NBA.”  I loved the phrase so much, I figured I’d hunt down some of the team’s Greatest (greatly exaggerated) Hits.

ryan-hollins

Solid start, Ryan Hollins.  Way to kick things off on a good note.  I feel like in another life Hollins would have made a great putty.

chris-paul-ham

Chris Paul’s first entry here is quite a doozy.  When I first saved this GIF to my laptop, I titled it “CP3 is a ham,” which pretty much sums it up.  I love how DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t even realize what is happening until Paul is already in Act III of his performance.

barea-steamroll

Apparently, taking mild contact from J.J. Barea is equivalent to being flattened by rush hour traffic.

meet-joe-black

Or maybe CP3 was just having a “Joe Black” kind of day.

griffin-whoa

To be fair, Griffin really did almost take some serious elbow action to the face here.  Still, the exaggerated back arch is vintage flop material.  Plus, Nene’s subtle stink-eye after the fact is priceless.  Also priceless?  Blake’s “nobody saw that” recovery immediately following the botched flop.

griffin-khan

“KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!”

But wait a second…this seems too familiar.  Griffin couldn’t possibly have perfected a technique of this caliber on his own.  I’ve seen it before.  But from who?

evans-classic

Reggie.  Effing.  Evans.

Of course, how could I have missed it?  Check out that crisp snap of the neck.  Only one man could be responsible for such impeccable self-whiplash.  And that arm-flailing, I mean, it’s just beautiful.  Poetry in motion, a visual symphony of flimflammery.

chris-paul-twirl

Nice form here from Chris.  The twirl is a strong flourish.  It seems that before Reggie packed his bags for Brooklyn, he taught his former Clipper teammates everything he knew.

But why would you bother listening to a concert pianist perform Chopin when you can watch the maestro himself at work?

evans-incidental-screen

Clearly, the Los Angeles Clippers made a grave mistake when they traded away this virtuoso.  Alas, he’s now cross country, flopping a new team into the NBA spotlight.  And though Evans has recently been credited for other overrated, non-fraudulent skills like “defense” and “rebounding,” let us never forget where his true value lies.

griffin-slide

Sir Evans has trained you well, young prince.

(all .gifs via Google search)