My epic project (part 3):
Pairing each of the 96 dudes from the Bill Simmons’ Book of Basketball pyramid of the greatest NBA players of all time with a famous rapper based on wholly subjective criteria: Part 3 (#36-25):
EPIC HUMP DAY (except it’s Monday… whatever). I just said that for the Read More anyway.
36. George Mikan – Melle Mel: Unless you’re a historian of basketball and/or rap, you probably don’t know much about either of these dudes. Mikan was basically the first big man to ever play in the NBA, and they widened the paint cause he was just camping out next to the rim and laying it in like 30 times a night. Melle Mel was the head MC in Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the first rap group ever inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
35. Kevin McHale – Method Man: McHale was one of the most talented Celtics of all time, but the only list that he’s #1 on is Biggest Joker in Team History. Dude was hilarious. Likewise, Meth was one of the best MC’s in the Wu, but not the best. But he’s definitely the one you’d wanna party with, cause he’s always having a good time/stoned out of his mind. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure Kevin McHale must’ve been blazed the entire time he ran the T’Wolves organization.
34. George Gervin – Diddy: Gervin’s nickname was “Iceman.” Diddy is the richest rapper of all time. Gervin never won a championship and didn’t really give a shit. Diddy was never a good rapper and didn’t really give a shit.
33. Sam Jones – GZA: Sammy J was described by Bill Russell as wicked selfless, but always ready to step up and hit the big shot in the crucial moment for the Celtics dynasty in the 60’s. Likewise, GZA may be the most talented MC in the Clan, but he lets the other dudes shine without issue until it’s time for him to step up and destroy a track on the last verse. The two dudes on the list that most resemble those Buddhist monks in kung-fu movies who are all calm and serene but’ll kick your ass so hard and so quick you’ll be lying in the middle of a road ten miles away before you know what hit you.
32. Walt Frazier – Rev Run: Walt loved living the high life off the court, with tons of flashy shit and nailing bitches like a hammer. Run isn’t on that same swag, but he did star in his own VH1 reality series. On the court, tho, Clyde was all business, and the same can be said for Run on the mic. See #30 for more detail.
31. Dave Cowens – Raekwon: Cowens was always the most focused and intense dude on the court for those ’70’s Celtics. The same can be said about Rae in the Wu-Tang Clan. Neither had much of a sense of humor, and if you pissed off either of them, they’d make you pay. Also, Cowens quit in the middle of a season to drive a cab around Boston. You can’t mention him without bringing that up. I think it’s the law.
30. Willis Reed – DMC: Willis, along with Walt Frazier, took the New York Knicks to heights they’d never been to during the early 70’s. Likewise, DMC, as part of Run-DMC, elevated hip-hop to new levels. Really, Run-DMC is the Reed-Frazier pair, and DMC is Willis cause he was the “tougher” one, with his destroyed liver kinda like Willis’ torn hammy in Game 7 in the ’70 Finals.
29. Allen Iverson – Lauryn Hill: I’m not trying to call The Answer a woman, nor am I trying to call Lauryn a thug. But AI def had some serious critics cause he was so small, and he proved them wrong time and again cause he was so damn talented. Same deal with Ms. Hill cause of her womanliness. Also, both had complete fucking meltdowns and disappeared.
28. David Robinson – LL Cool J: This is how Bill Simmons describes seeing The Admiral for the first time: “To this day, I have never seen anyone that close who looked more like a basketball player than David Robinson. The man was taller and more regal than we expected, but so absurdly chiseled that he looked like a touched-up model in a Soloflex ad.” LL, likewise, looked more like a bodybuilder than a rapper (still does). Also, D-Rob took a two-year break from ball to serve in the Navy before coming back and embarking on his NBA career. LL, likewise, had rap’s first great comeback. But don’t call it that.
27. Bill Walton – Will Smith: These are probably the two smiliest dudes to appear on this list. Bill Walton was one of the only dudes to smile as he threw an outlet pass to start a fast break, smile as he ran up the court, and then still be smiling as he dunked on you. Will Smith’s DEF the only rapper to smile continuously as he rapped. Walt had his career/potential limited by injuries, while Will obviously shifted his focus from rap to acting. Walton has emerged as one of the NBA’s best commentators/analysts, while Big Willie is probably the best rapper-turned-actor of all time.
26. Rick Barry – Ja Rule: Rick Barry was unquestionably a great basketball player. And no one can deny that Ja had some solid hit records. But both these dudes were complete fuckin’ pricks and pissed off everyone they encountered. It’s a big part of why Barry only won 1 ship and why Ja’s face is on milk cartons now.
25. John Stockton – Ad Rock (or either of the other two Beastie Boys): Stock had a wicked long, successful career (except that lack of ship, thank you MJ!) as a small white dude in a black man’s league. By the end of his career in the early 2000’s, he was the last man standing from the short shorts era. The same can be said of the Beasties with the golden age of hip-hop. Not gonna lie, I picked Ad Rock cause he’s the shortest one. They’re all pretty interchangeable.
Well there you have it. We’re more than half done now. CRAZY SHIT.
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