Basketball and hip-hop have a long and rich history, as both were shaped by black culture and built by black people. Add to that many rappers who have hoop dreams of their own, who grew up playing the game and being fans of NBA players, and the marriage continued for decades. From Kurtis Blow’s classic 1984 single “Basketball” to Porky Pig’s rap in the LeBron James Sports Film Space Jam: a new legacy, rappers and basketball players respect each other. As the 2021 NBA Finals draw to a close, XXL highlights some rapper and NBA franchise relationships over the years, from co-owners to super fans.
Duck and Jay Z are the greatest rappers of the modern era to get involved in NBA teams. Drizzy became the Toronto Raptors’ Global Ambassador in 2013, and made his mark on his home team. The team played in OVO jerseys, he partnered with them to raise awareness in the local community and he joined the team on their parade float after their victory in the 2019 championship. Meanwhile, Jay-Z became a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets in 2004, and was instrumental in moving teams from New Jersey to Brooklyn. Also invested in the Barclays Center, the team’s home arena, Jay was frequently seen in games before and after selling his stake in the Nets in 2013, avoiding a conflict of interest with his own sports agency. , Roc Nation Sports. Most recently, he was in attendance, alongside his wife Beyoncé, for a home game when the Milwaukee Bucks faced the Brooklyn Nets for the first game of the Eastern Conference semifinals in June.
The Atlanta Hawks have had a strong season this year, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, led by star point guard Trae Young. The Hawks have a lot of famous fans, but two of their most notable are native Georgia 2 channels and Quavo, a third of Migos. In 2019, 2 Chainz purchased the ownership group of College Park Skyhawks, the Hawks G-League affiliate team, which also represents his hometown. He attends Hawks games regularly and has been honored with his own night he played. Quavo did the same. The Migos member has been the more visible of the two recently, sitting in the front row and cheering on the team throughout the NBA playoffs. He also formed a close friendship with Trae Young and even gifted him a chain adorned with the words “Ice Trae”.
Take a look at the hip-hop connection to NBA teams below.