Issue 27: Sing, Sing a Song

As we’ve covered in previous issues, basketball and music have a long history of collaboration. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly or spaghetti and meatballs, and even when the combo is more forced, like gummy worms and macaroni and cheese, the results are still pretty fantastic. Hmm, I may have gotten lost in the food metaphors there…

In any case, here are some more fine examples of musicians evoking quality NBA references. Let’s dive on in.

Cam’ron — “Cookin’ Up”

The Line: “I’m Killa, you Andre Miller, got a basic game”

Cam’ron is calling himself Kyrie Irving in this scenario. Irving is notable for a number of reasons, including his belief that the earth is flat and his starring role in Uncle Drew, perhaps the only movie that was born from a Pepsi commercial.

But in this case, Cam’ron is referring to Irving’s incredible ability to handle a basketball. He can dribble around and outmaneuver just about anyone with a dazzling handle and pure jump shot. And whoever Cam’ron is talking about is Andre Miller.

Now, Andre Miller was a fine basketball player. He played in the NBA until he was 39, averaging 12.5 points and 6.5 assists, solid marks for any player. He even led the league in assists one year.

But unlike Irving’s flashy game, Miller’s was…well, it was basic. Like Cam’ron said. Then again, Andre Miller made more than $98 million playing in the NBA. If that’s basic, then I’ll gladly be basic.

Also, Andre Miller had multiple moments where he pretended to call a timeout and then drove to the basket for a score while everyone else was walking toward the sideline. Very sneaky!

Big L — “Deadly Combination”

The Line: “I Roc-a-Fella like Shawn Carter/With more game than Ron Harper/The bomb sparker rapper slash charm robber”

Big L is back! And in the span of about four seconds, he references both a rap mogul in Jay-Z (that’s Shawn Carter, in case you’re not a rap fan) and an NBA player I once saw in person during an NBA All-Star weekend event.

Ron Harper may have less game than Big L, but he won five NBA championships along the way, which is pretty cool.

Also pretty cool? Harper donates his time to the Stuttering Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps those who stutter, like Harper himself.

Kendrick Lamar — “The Heart, Part 4”

The Line: Tables turned, lesson learned, my best look/You jumped sides on me, now you ‘bout to meet Westbrook/Go celebrate with your team and let victory vouch you/Just know the next game played I might slap the sh*t out you”

Even if you don’t really follow the NBA, surely you’ve known someone that has switched allegiances or done something that irritated you.

Kendrick Lamar sums up a major NBA drama in four succinct bars: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both used to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the 2016 playoffs, the Thunder lost to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. That summer, Durant left the Thunder to go play with the Warriors.

To complicate things, the Warriors had also won 73 games the previous season (an NBA record), so it very much looked like Durant left to chase a championship. To be fair, the Warriors won two straight championships after Durant joined them and reached the Finals in the third year, but Durant’s move understandably left a bitter taste in the mouths of Oklahoma City fans.

As far as we know, Westbrook hasn’t slapped Durant during a game yet. He did knock a cell phone away from a fan that was holding it in his face, though, and that’s nearly the same thing.

Want more basketball lyrics? Check out the previous music issue of Crisp Bounce Pass.

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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