1. Kobe Bryant
Naming your one rap song after yourself — and featuring Tyra Banks on it — is a bold, bold move.
Sample bars: “Uh, what I live for? Basketball, beats and broads / From Italy to the US, yes, it’s raw”
2. Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd raps in a weird, breathy moan, and the title of his song makes a pun on his name.
Sample bars: “Now there ain’t no party like a J-Kidd party / ‘Cause a J-Kidd party don’t stop / But it ain’t no party ‘cause I can’t get it started / With all these player-haters on my jock.”
3. The Artist Formerly Known As Ron Artest
As Ron Artest, Metta World Peace actually released an entire album of rap, My World. But his real moment of fame came on “Champions,” which celebrated the Lakers’ Finals victory, Artest’s first. Featuring an awesomely shrill autotuned chorus.
Sample bars: “You read the newspapers / You saw the magazines / You got the Internet but you don’t got to Google me.”
4. Chris Webber
Now a pretty decent commentator, Chris Webber has come a long way as far as being a functional human being off the basketball court. His video for “Gangsta, Gangsta,” ft. Kurupt, is maybe the most ’90s thing ever made.
Sample bars: “Your girl was impressed when she met us / Woke up and made breakfast, my fellas / You can’t forget us, fetish for lettuce / From the home of J-Rose and Jerome Bettis.”
5. Steve Francis
Become a briefly impressive basketball star and you too can one day cut a vanity rap track in which you talk about how rich you are while sitting in a Maserati in an airplane hanger.
Sample bars: “New whips, long trips, all kind of bling / At it for a year now she used to the finer things.”
6. Gary Payton
The former SuperSonics star made a one-track effort called “Living Legal and Large.” He seems even less into it than we are.
Sample bars: “Slam dunk, hit a three / Talk a little junk.”
7. Kevin Durant
I don’t hate the fact that KD chose Jay-Z and Kanye’s “Gotta Have It” as his beat to rap over, but I do hate his flat and affect-less flow. Still, kind of fun to see him trying.
Sample bars: “A W up on my fitted / and the purple and cream soda is all a n***a sipping / Catch me on Twitter, pussy ham gon’ killa.”
8. Tony Parker
He’s basically the French Pitbull. I have no idea what he’s saying, because he raps in French. The video for one song is a day-glo cheerleader competition, or something. He does have a song with Fabolous, though.
Sample bars: I don’t know, they’re in French.
9. Carlos Boozer
Childish Gambino may be dancing ironically on the grave of hashtag rap pretty much daily, but Carlos Boozer killed it officially when he rapped, “Now I got the game laced up / shoestrings.” (Also, he has a song with Twista, which is funny for a lot of reasons.)
Sample bars: “Look back thank God / Look forward trust God / That’s why when I’m in the paint, you know I go hard.”
10. Marquis Daniels
Benchwarming Predator look-alike Marquis Daniels apparently has a group called the 1090 Blok Boyz. He actually kind of knows how to rap, with passable technique and an ability to ape other, better rappers, but there’s nothing about any of this that is remotely original, except maybe for filming a music video in the style of Grand Theft Auto.
Sample bars: “760 zero coupe, menage with me / That’s my bad bitch, doing bout a buck fifty.”
Make no mistake: Shaq is a terrible rapper. But unlike these other guys, he put together a successful music career, with a platinum album to his name, so he gets some credit for that.
Sample bars: “I lean on the Statue of Liberty when I get tired / Then I punch her in the stomach, I don’t give a heck.”
12. Allen Iverson
Under the name “Jewels,” Allen Iverson made maybe the best rap music, in terms of technique and style, of any NBA player. Except it was also Clockwork Orange-violent and filled with racial, sexist and homophobic slurs; David Stern reportedly wouldn’t let him release the album. Keep shining, Jewels.
Sample bars: “Everybody stay fly get money kill and fuck bitches / I’m hitting anything in plain view of my riches.”
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