13 Basketball References In Rap Lyrics That Have Aged Very Poorly

Kelvin Cato and Tyrone Nesby in the building!

If you’re a rapper and you pick the wrong baller to compare yourself to, “I’m like [name of player]” can very quickly switch from meaning “I’m awesome” to “I’m irrelevant, unsuccessful and probably overweight.” Below, the finest examples of this phenomenon, with hat tips to Spin, Bleacher Report, and this excellent Both Team Plays Hard compilation.

1. Hedo Turkoglu

Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP

“Hit the three-point shot like Hedo.” — Twista, “American Gangster”

2. Chris Duhon

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“When I get my Duke on, crossover like Chris Duhon.” —The Game, “Red Bottom Boss”

3. Larry Brown

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“I’m Larry Brown, New York was fucked up so they signed me to fix shit.” —Joe Budden, “World Takeover”

4. Cedric Ceballos

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“Even the NBA make rap dollars / Shaquille, Chris Webber, Cedric Ceballos.” —Big Daddy Kane, “Entaprizin’”

5. Larry Hughes

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“Deuce-one ball for Philly like Larry Hughes.” —Beanie Sigel, “Raw & Uncut”

6. Flip Murray

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“Flip Murray with the shots, think I’m three down.” —Rapper Big Pooh, “System”

7. Stephon Marbury

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“They call me the Stephon Marbury of rap, darling.” —Eminem, “W.T.P.” (Particularly inexplicable as this album was released in 2010, when Marbury had already washed out of the NBA.)

8. Brevin Knight

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“I take my glock and I point, god, like Brevin Knight.” —Vinnie Paz, “Put ‘Em in the Grave”

9. Ron Mercer

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“Ron Mercer like to slam dunk straight to the hoop.” —Master P, “Basketball”

10. Darius Miles

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“I’m like Darius cause I can shoot two miles.” —Lil Bow Wow, “Basketball.” (Darius Miles’ career 3-point percentage was .168.)

11. Tyrone Nesby

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“Been to D.C. and L.A. like Tyrone Nesby.” —Murphy Lee, “Don’t Blow It”

12. Kelvin Cato

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“Dunk on a punk just like Kelvin Cato.” —Z-Ro, “Mo City Don Freestyle”

13. Jamaal Tinsley

Matt York / AP

“20’s with the rims, B-custom knitted Bentley / And everything we do they assist like Jamaal Tinsley” — Foxy Brown, “Stylin’”

The lesson: rappers who want to talk about the NBA don’t just need to be good at rapping. They also, as talent evaluators, need to be on their game like Gregg Popovich. (Feel free to steal that one.)

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