Your Favorite Hip-Hop Stars as NBA players.

I was watching the new series from Complex Media with Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks and they had a really interesting segment on last week. The segment was about Hip-Hop artists and who their NBA counterparts are. Basically if a rapper was an NBA player who would they be? I found this interesting not because it truly intrigued me, but because I feel like I’ve became a nerd hella times discussing this exact topic with friends who often times weren’t listening. 😭

Sounds great right?! It’s sports and rap, the two topics you gotta be well versed in if you’re black (I kid I kid, well kind of). To my surprise, Uncle Joe didn’t have many comparisons to lend, because quite frankly Akademiks was kinda killing it!

I heard some comparisons I liked, some not so much, a few comparisons that barely made sense, as well as some I could tell Akademiks just flat out reached for. This made me finally decide to come up with my own comparisons to share. So let me cut the small talk and blow y’all minds real quick.

Jay -Z

“I am the Mike Jordan of recording.”

I think it’s really simple and easy to compare the two. Just as Mike did for the NBA, Jay helped make rap the mainstream. After Magic and Bird ruled the league, Mike handedly snatched the torch seemingly the same way Jay passed the torch from Biggie and Pac (hint hint).

In addition to widely being considered as the GOAT in their respective crafts, the had flawless track records (Mike 6-6 in the NBA Finals, Jay 12-12 platinum albums).

While obvious they both had impeccable skills, it was their brands that is what set them apart from their contemporaries. Now worldwide, both of their brands are synonymous with their respective cultures (Roc-A-Fella/Roc Nation and Jordan Brand/Jumpman). Likewise, both Hov and Air Jordan have been the standard to which we compare rap artists and basketball players. Even further, Jigga was the face of rap in its golden era in the same way His Airness was the face of the NBA in its 90's golden era.

Both announced retirements to which neither held to. With Jay coming back to drop a few “solid” albums, and Jordan coming back to play for the Wizards. Also ironically in the years after their careers in both rap and basketball were over both have since been reported to have reached billionaire status. I think this one is an easy comparison.

Lil Wayne

“When it comes down to this recording, I must be LeBron James if he’s Jordan. Nope, I won rings with my performance, I’m more Kobe Bryant of an artist.”

I mean… can it get any clearer than that? 😂 Lil Wayne and Kobe Bryant have probably the most seamless comparison available. Both entered their profession at a young age, both playing the background while showing glimpses of immense talent. I think it’s also notable to mention while Kobe patterned his game after Michael Jordan, Tunechi was molding his rap style after Jay- Z. Their career arch is probably the most similar too. During he same time Wayne was going on his wild run from 2004–2009 Kobe was doing the same in the NBA, and for what it’s worth both phases happened after their respective teams (Cash Money and the Lakers) were gutted of talent leaving the responsibility on the both of their shoulders.

Think Kobe’s 81…….Think Da Drought 3

Both only have one “classic” if you will (Kobe- MVP in 08, Wayne- Tha Carter 3 in 08). In addition the most eerie similarity between the two is the twilight years of their careers. The last 3–4 years of Kobe’s career were a roller coaster due to injury and a wild contract, while Wayne’s last few years have been pretty much the same due to injury, health scares, and a bad deal with Cash Money. Since Wayne has repeatedly said he’s retiring at 35 (this year) My only hope is that we get a memorable sendoff from Lil Wayne in the form of Tha Carter V the same way Kobe left us with 60 points his final game.

Even if this is the last of Weezy F Baby, his DNA can be seen all throughout the rap game just the same as the Mamba Mentality is alive and well in the NBA.


Drake is most comparable to LeBron James. In my opinion both came into their respective fields with enormous hype surrounding them as the designated “he got next” guy. We knew both would be great, but we just never expected both to end up surpassing expectations. LeBron came fresh out of high school already with national notoriety just as Drake came into music with national notoriety from Degrassi. Neither one of them had a bad year through the first 7 years of their careers. Likewise both had styles in their craft that had been seen before but not done at a high level (Drake melodic rap/singing and LeBron being a walking triple double). Both also were consistent since the day they got to the big leagues. With LeBron never averaging less than 25–5–5 in any season after his rookie season and Drake dropping number 1/ platinum albums since his first album. In addition both are probably the best businessmen as it pertains to their contemporary counterparts. LeBron broke off from his agent early on to begin his own agency that ultimately landed some big name players as clients (I.e. Ben Simmons, Eric Bledsoe, John Wall), while Drake did pretty much the same getting distribution for his own recod label OVO Sound through Warner Bros. as opposed to his parent label Cash Money. He too signed big names (Partynextdoor, Roy Woods, Dvsn).

In addition, both guys have had detractors for their ideas on how collaborative efforts should be viewed. 😂😅 We all know the stories:

“LeBron had to team up with D-Wade and Bosh to win.”

“Drake uses the OVO sweatshop to make his hits.”

Also something worth mentioning is how they are both at the top of their respective fields. Both Drake and LeBron are the most popular rapper and NBA player respectively. They both have global brands that are thriving in the digital age.

The last similarity that makes this comparison worth while is the fact that both Bron and Drizzy are well on their way to a B. It’s common knowledge that at their current projections both will probably reach a billion dollars and will do it at a significantly younger age than anyone in their respective crafts.

These were the most glaringly easy comparisons I could come up with. Be on the lookout for volume two with some more of your favorite artists and players.



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They say it's lonely at the top in whatever you do. B.A.G. - 1 9 0 6🤙🏾