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Monday, May 20, 2024
The Observer

NBA hip-hop remix: Eastern Conference

Eric Richelsen | The Observer
Eric Richelsen | The Observer

When the British Premier League kicked-off back in early August, Complex sports writer Julius Lasin wrote aninteresting piece on how to support a club based on your preference for hip-hop artists. It is undeniable that the NBA and hip-hop have a strong and historical relationship. Thus, in honor of the NBA tipping off tonight, here is a breakdown of your favorite Eastern Conference teams with a bit of a hip-hop twist.

Boston Celtics — Lil Wayne: There was a time not too long ago when Lil Wayne was on top of the rapping world. And though recent times have not been good to him, you could always sense that he might find his way back. The Celtics once ruled the NBA landscape, and though they have gone through a bit of a rebuild, their combination of a solid squad and intelligent leadership under Coach Brad Stevens makes for compelling season.

Brookyln Nets — Jay-Z: Let’s not get carried away now, Nets fans. Jay-Z famously launched his own streaming music venture, TIDAL, and with the overwhelming support from big-name artists, it seemed too big to fail. And yet, that’s exactly what happened. Similarly, that’s where the Nets are now.

New York Knicks — J. Cole: J. Cole once seemed to be unstoppable, even as a young up-and-comer. However, with the bright lights on (i.e., his debut album), he just didn’t have enough to really push him or his brand over the top. The Knicks have also had promising moments recently, but their chance at success was over before it even started. That said, with their young core (and promising rookie standout Jerian Grant!) the potential for a resurgence looms.

Philadelphia 76ers — Meek Mill: Meek Mill seemed to have a plan. Trust the process, as 76ers GM and President of Basketball Operations Sam Hinkie would say. He would come after Drake with a “beef” that would instantly go viral and be on his way to success and stardom. Well, that plan back-fired. Hinkie allegedly has tanked for the past few seasons now, acquiring high draft picks to assemble a young promising squad. However, his picks have been unfortunately oft-injured, and thus “trusting the process” has yet to really pan out. 

Toronto Raptors — Big Sean: The Raptors’ recent success has been analogous to Big Sean’s career: they might seem like dark-horse contenders for the title one week and not be heard from again for two. All the while, you truly never seemed threatened by them.

Chicago Bulls — Kanye West: I’m not really sure if we’re being honest, Chicago fans. You know the team is good, and on paper they really should be perennial contenders for the title. However, just as Kanye has been met with mixed reception for his edgy, new style of music, the Bulls are faced with recent coaching and style changes.

Cleveland Cavaliers — Justin Bieber: Listen, everyone loves to hate Bieber. People nitpick and love to find every little bit to fault him for. They might even argue that he belongs nowhere near the genre “hip-hop.” But deep down, they know he’s great and is a virtual lock for success. Similarly, people will find every reason to hate LeBron James and the Cavaliers, but there is no denying their greatness.

Detroit Pistons — Eminem: The Pistons regained a coach with a hard-nosed, aggressive attitude in Stan Van Gundy. But that style just doesn’t work anymore in today’s NBA. Similarly, Eminem came back most recently with “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” to rediscover his old roots. It was very hit-and-miss.

Indiana Pacers — Tyga: The Pacers always seem to fly under the radar, even when they are doing well. But nowadays, they stink, and Paul George alone won’t save this team. Similarly, Tyga used to be part of a promising Young Money music group, but with that collective more or less done, the Southern California rapper is largely forgettable.

Milwaukee Bucks — Fetty Wap: The Bucks are young, interesting and filled with promise, from the promising leadership of Coach Jason Kidd and young nucleus. The same can be said for Fetty Wap, with his distinguishable voice, niche for catchy songs and rapidly rising stardom. 

Atlanta Hawks — 2 Chainz: 2 Chainz knows what works, and doesn’t stray from it. It makes for a consistent, if not predictable, product. The Hawks stick to a tried-and-true formula of ball movement and spacing but try little else. The analogy writes itself.

Charlotte Hornets — 50 Cent: To be fair, this is more of a reflection on franchise owner Michael Jordan. Back in the day, both seemingly were on top of the world and virtually untouchable. But their business decisions of recent history have left their respective fans scratching their heads and wondering what happened to the good ol’ days.

Miami Heat — Rick Ross: Both extremely relevant in Miami, and fans of both can probably convince themselves that both the Heat and Rick Ross are actually good. But just as Rick Ross will always seem to be one-dimensional in his songs and reliant on his admittedly impressive guest acts, the Heat will have to rely on their impressive on-paper roster and hope it all pans out.

Orlando Magic — Will Smith: The trend continues of once-legends hoping to make a resurgence. Smith used to put out family-friendly jams, but his musical career has come back with a hint of desperation with his latest release, “Fiesta.” Similarly, the Magic have gone through a roller coaster of the past decade or so, and now are hoping that the infusion of young talent will bring them back to relevancy. We shall see, but for now Magic fans should skip the season and look forward to the “Summertime.”

Washington Wizards — Wale: Then there was Wale, the mercurial rapper who at times seems philosophical, other times outright befuddling. The DMV rapper is the perfect analogy to his own team, as the Wizards seem to practically be begging to take the next step to an “elite” team status, only to at times take two steps back into mediocrity. As a fan of Wale and the Wizards, I can only hope that both become a bit more consistent in their success.