Monday, August 20, 2012

Comparing Today's NBA Players to Today's Rappers

I was born in 1990. I was just a kid during the golden era of hip-hop and the championship run of Michael Jordan's Bulls, but the 90s are still close to my heart. I sit back and watch Fresh-Prince before work, bump Illmatic and wear slap bracelets when I'm feeling crazy. There's a lot of nostalgia for the 90s going on right now and with good reason. The mainstream creativity of this generation sucks. Don't get me wrong there are tons of talented people out there in a number of fields (technology, fashion, film); however have you listened to the radio lately? Or turned on the TV? Shitty music and terrible reality shows dominate the airwaves. Now, don't get me wrong there is still good music and TV out there, but its hard to find.

Today's NBA is actually in a much better place than today's music or TV. Tons of talent and tons of excitement right now. I'm a huge fan of all music, seriously I'll give anything a listen, but rap is closest to my heart. Today I want to compare the music scene to hoops by way of matching players to rappers. Lets begin...

Kevin Love/Action Bronson

Action Bronson is a raw ass dude from New York, with immense skill and incredible delivery. This guy is a throwback to the old days of rap. He's spitting street stuff through complex rhymes coupled with a voice reminiscent of Ghostface Killah. His counterpart, Kevin Love, is also a throwback to the old days. Love doesn't go out on the court and overwhelm you with ahtleticism, he does it with his brain and ever-expanding skill set. There's not a lot of flash to Love's game, but there is a shit load of substance. He boxes out well, shoots with great form and makes the right plays. Love isn't out there trying to break backboards and smash rims, he's trying to find the open space on the court, use his body to create space and exploit the defenses weakness. These guys are complete opposites in terms of appearance, but in terms of bringing the old school back they do it admirably.

Tim Duncan/Nas

I know what you're thinking. This is absolutely ridiculous. Let me explain though. Tim Duncan, one of the all-time greats, proven track record, longjevity, still schooling the young heads. Nas, one of the all-time greats, proven track record, longjevity, still out classing the younger generation. Nas and Timmy D have more in common than people would think. Duncan rarely talks, but when he does its captivating. Nas obviously speaks more than Duncan, well because he raps, but like Duncan he's ever insightful. What makes these guys most similar to me is the fact that they both are still doing it despite the odds. Duncan is still one of the driving forces behind the Spurs despite the fact that he's "old," and has "lost a step." Nas just put out his 10th album to much acclaim despite haters saying he was finished. Hell, they thought he was finished after Jay-z did "Takeover." While Nas may not be the 17-year-old who wrote Illmatic and Duncan not the guy who won four rings, they're still at the top. What these guys both have endless amounts of is skill, which allows each to thrive regardless of age and the changes in their respective fields of work.

LeBron James/Drake

This is another one that probably doesn't make sense off the bat, but give me a chance. LeBron James and Drake are both at the top of their professions. I don't think Drake is the most skilled rapper or the best or that he even says anything profound, but Drake is at the top of the rap game. Don't believe me? Turn on a radio or go to a show and see the legion of Drake fans out there. It says a lot about the state of hip-hop, but that is where we are.

LeBron is clearly the best basketball player on the planet at the moment. He scores, he rebounds, he passes, he defends, he does it all. LeBron has been the best in the game for years now, but certain critics were blinded by hate and never gave him his just due. This year, with another MVP trophy, his first championship and a gold medal, LeBron has separated himself.

Why are Drake and LeBron similar? When they came out, both had a buzz and were anointed without ever achieving anything. LeBron the "king," Drake the "first name greatest, last name ever." The credit they received angered both hip-hop heads and basketball critics alike. That anger turned into hate, which became as abundant as oxygen for both men.

Like I said, Drake isn't a profound artist in my opinion, but he does have skill and can obviously put a song together. I used to be a big fan, but he's gotten a little out of control and full of himself over the last couple of years. LeBron, like Drake, was hated on and ridiculed despite obvious skill and numbers to back claims of greatness. It wasn't until this spring that LeBron was able to send a huge fuck you to the haters and get his first ring. Unfortunately, for Drake, music has no championship and has much more room for subjectivity. Drake could put together a real hip-hop classic and will still have his detractors. That's just music.

I think people would like LeBron and Drake more if we knew the real them. Drake is a mixed, jewish kid from Toronto who sometimes acts like a thug from the south or a pussy whipped character from a Nicolas Sparks book. Who are you really? And LeBron is a guy who never says anything controversial and does every interview like its scripted. LeBron has shaken the hate now, but in years past if he would've just been real people would have respected him much more.

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