The only memories I have of Wayman Tisdale are from his final few years in the NBA when he was just a forgettable role player in Phoenix. I didn’t catch him in his prime during the late 1980s and early ‘90s. I also never realized he was a spectacular musician until sometime around his death in 2009. If we are talking about great NBA musicians, then Tisdale has to be near the top. He had a No. 1 Billboard album, as crazy as that sounds. But if we did that – opened this list up to every ballplayer/artist – it would turn into an impossibility.
There’s Jerry Stackhouse. Grant Hill. There’s Carlos Arroyo (even though I don’t speak Spanish, I legitimately bump this song on the way to clubs). Walter McCarty (actually pretty good). There was Armen Gilliam too.
We could go on and on. Entertainers and athletes. Athletes and entertainers. They get along. They understand each other. Naturally, there will be collaborations. But perhaps no two groups are as close as hip-hop and basketball. The relationship between the blacktop and the mic will always be there. With DeJuan Blair recently making some buzz off his cover of Drake’s “Trust Issues”, I figured I could shine a little light on some of the best ball-playing rappers.
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Honorable Mention: Tony Parker
I’ll admit it. He’s not close to being the 10th best rapper – there are a few others you can claim are better: Dennis Scott, Malik Sealy, Rashad McCants, Troy Hudson (who actually did a collab with Project Pat and Juicy J) – but I really wanted to get this song on the list. It’s a legit music video with Fabolous (can’t stand him) and “Tony P”. When he jumps on the mic, tell me you aren’t laughing.
10. Ron Artest
Remember how I mentioned that every issue of 2K’s basketball game has two or three songs that end up becoming that game’s anthems? Ron Artest’s “Champion” from NBA 2K11 made the cut this year. It’s one of the songs that always seemed to get play as I was rummaging through my franchise or putting my player through shooting drills. It’s not terrible. I will give it that.
9. Marquis Daniels
Daniels has been a part of four mixtapes. I’ll keep it 100: this is not bad at all. Actually, as I’m listening to this now, this could’ve jumped another spot or two.