Throughout time, various NBA players have attempted to get into the rap game. As you can see above, Kobe Bryant and Damian Lillard are two of the most notable examples. As a matter of fact, Lillard, who goes by the stage name Dame D.O.L.L.A. just released his most recent single titled "Bigger than Us".
It had me thinking ... if NBA players were current rap-hip-hop artists -- who would they be?
The results of my investigative study are below:
LeBron James -- Kanye West
The perennial powerhouse. Love him or hate him, he’s the main event every single night whether you want to admit it or not. When he shows up to your city, you change your schedule to accommodate his. He could be sitting in a chair watching grass grow and people would probably still pay to watch it happen. A revolutionary in every aspect of the word.
Kevin Durant -- Eazy E
Once the extremely-popular leader of the nation’s most rebellious group – the one who had the best chance of overthrowing the institution and everything the industry stood against – he threw all of his boys under the bus so that he could cash in platinum achievements on his own.
Steph Curry -- Drake
You can’t deny his achievements. You can’t take the banners out of the rafters. You can’t take his name out of the history books after all the records he’s broken. You can’t avoid him. His product is everywhere. When he’s in town, everyone won’t shut the hell up about it. You may not be happy about it – but you’re paying top dollar to see him because he’s just that damn good. You know everyone who makes fun of him totally vibes to his stuff behind closed doors – they just don’t want to admit it. But damnit I think we can all agree he can be annoying sometimes.
Chris Paul -- J. Cole
Still double platinum with no rings. The most controversial artist on the block – you appreciate his greatness or absolutely despise him because you think he’s a fraud, there is no in-between. As a matter of fact, hating on him has become a trendy hobby. You can say what you want about him, but, let’s be honest: he sells out the building every night for a reason. You would do anything to build a franchise around him if ever given the opportunity - you just don’t like him when he’s making a mockery of your squad bending the rules as far as they can go without breaking.
Carmelo Anthony -- Future
A huge name crazy hat-wearing A-lister who is talked about everywhere everyday. Is he the type of performer you’re sitting at your computer waiting for the clock to hit 12:01 PM exactly so that you don’t miss the presale? No. Not anymore. Every time you look at his box score he clearly puts up big numbers but it’s always because of that one single – the rest of the album stinks. If he’s headlining your show expect him to make a lot of money and not win any awards because of it.
Russell Westbrook -- DMX
The one performer in the entire industry everyone knows is off limits when it comes to diss tracks.
Dwight Howard -- Desiigner
One-trick pony still living off that one great season. All he's good for now is getting boards in Atlanta. Legacy.
Draymond Green -- Meek Mill
He produces legit quality but 9 out of 10 people walking down the street want to see him fail.
DeMarcus Cousins -- Bobby Shmurda
Look at him the wrong way, you bout to catch a body a week ago.
Anthony Davis -- Jadakiss
An absolute badass in every facet of the industry who will never make it to the top unless he surrounds himself with a different, better team.
Kristaps Porzingis -- Dr. Dre
Keyboard, lyrics, instrumentals, post-production, voice over, live performing, you name it – he’s got it. He is not an artist; he is an institution. He doesn’t build around what you’ve built, you build around him as he is. He is a generational talent who is about to re-define the industry, all he needs to do is breakaway and do his own thing.
Kawhi Leonard -- Kendrick Lamar
You’re not going to see him on the front page of TMZ, popping bottles, or rolling out a red carpet for himself. All he does is go out there and do work. He’s one of if not the best all-around performer of his industry and doesn’t care if you agree – he’s gonna go out there and dominate.
James Harden -- Young Thug
He’s a star whether you old school folks like the way he goes about his business or not.
Dirk Nowitzki -- P. Diddy
He’s past his prime and more of a figurehead now more than anything – but a mainstream, mass-appeal superstar who got absolute BUCKETS back in the day. We will be reminded of it every time we go to the bar and the club.
Derrick Rose -- 50 Cent
He was on top of the world, once upon a time. Everywhere you went he was the main attraction producing hits that made you want to take a white towel and start spinning it around your head in a helicopter motion. Every track was an absolute banger. The group he was the leader of was well-known and thought they ran the business, but, in the end – they produced just one single hit and soon disbanded. Now, he still exists and occasionally shows flashes of brilliance – but he’ll never get back to the peak he once stood on top of.
Zach Randolph -- Lloyd Banks
He’s always kinda been the third wheel no matter where you go, but everyone knows your name and the absolute last person you want to see in a dark alley at 2 AM.
Giannis Antetokounmpo -- Chance The Rapper
Need a radio hit? He gotchu. Want something underground? He gotchu. Want something slow? He gotchu. Want to freestyle? He gotchu. The Inspector Gadget of his craft – there is nothing this man can’t do, and just because everyone hasn’t heard of him yet doesn’t mean he’s not already a star.
Dwyane Wade -- T.I.
He might be a shadow of his old self and hasn’t put out anything worthwhile in months, but don’t let this fool you -- he can still go platinum whenever he damn well pleases.
Devin Booker -- Tyga
Won’t stop shooting, is convinced one will go in eventually.
John Wall -- Lil' Wayne
Somebody please save him from his current label before it’s too late.
Joel Embiid -- Childish Gambino
The up-and-coming superstar who is just now grabbing mainstream attention but has always had an extreme cult following who’s known and worshipped their abilities.
Jimmy Butler -- Rick Ross
He’s never won a major award, but, continuously produces awesome content. You aren’t ever going to hear someone say a bad word about him in public either.
Paul George -- Juelz Santana
He had himself a setback that made everyone temporarily forget how great he is. He’s back now, slowly-regaining mainstream attention while his stuff to this day is still wildly underappreciated.
Damian Lillard -- Young Jeezy
What does this guy have to do to get some recognition around here? All he does is dominate, and gets no love whenever the major awards are ready for distribution.
Kemba Walker -- Nas
It’s him vs. the world at all times and he doesn’t want it any other way.
Isaiah Thomas -- Eminem
He wasn’t ever supposed to make it. The underdog of underdogs. Look at him now. An all-star.
Karl-Anthony Towns -- Lupe Fiasco
We’re all just kind of sitting around waiting for him to fully-develop into the world-famous superstar we expected him to be and wondering if there is a ceiling to his career. TBD.
James Jones -- DJ Khaled
Find the most talented performer in the industry, make sure he includes you on every project he produces, follow him everywhere he goes, profit millions and go platinum three times. Repeat process until he retires.