Pump up the Volume

Pump up the Volume

Published Aug. 14, 2012 4:51 p.m. ET

You ever notice on TNT or ESPN or locally here on FOX Sports West that when the camera shows a player entering the arena before game time that he is almost always wearing head phones?

The music pumps us up. We all make our playlists of songs that really get us going, get us amped for that night's game.

Every year I make a new pre-game play list, it's a way of getting myself mentally prepared. Music is so important because night in and night out we have to find ways to trick our body into releasing adrenaline at the right time. It can get you through that long ride home, soothe you to sleep, or amp you up for a big game.

For some it may be superstition, but for me it's just a part of my routine.

Take Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals when I was with Boston vs. Miami this year, I stayed tight to my musical routine. I shuffled the songs from my playlist depending on feel, but for the most part, I've got three songs that I had to hear before every game:

1) "Rich Forever" by Rick Ross featuring John Legend
2) "Stay Schemin" by Rick Ross featuring Drake and that line: "You wasn't with me shooting in the gym"
3) "I'm on One" by DJ Khaled featuring Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne.

Since I was a child, my second love was music - hip hop and R&B mostly, but you can catch me with some classical or jammin' some oldies. I'm not going to pretend to know it all, but I know what I like. Good music is good music in my eyes - or ears - it's just developing a taste for it.

When I was a kid, usually my mom would listen to KFWB am news on the radio, but I remember the "You belong to the city" song from the Miami Vice sound track. Everytime that sound would come on I'd perk up and say 'mom play it again.'

That was our song. Another song from childhood - I know you all know it - the theme to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I don't remember many songs but I've got it locked in. "In west Philadelphia born and raised/On the playground is where I spent most of my days." You know the song...you know the show. I am pretty sure I've seen every episode about 10 times.

As much as I liked Fresh Prince, he turned out to be a better actor than a musician, and doesn't crack my top-five rappers (sorry Will!) of all time...here it is:
1) Tupac
2) Biggie
3) Jay-Z
4) Andre 3000
5) Big Pun

Being a west coast guy, Tupac is my top MC for his delivery and message in his music. Although only putting out two albums, Biggie stands as one of the best lyricist ever. All the way into his 40's, Jay-Z stands alone on his throne. The most intriguing of the group and possibly most over looked is Andre 3000 - he has done more than hold his own in hip-hop. Even in his short stint Big Pun's lyrics and delivery changed the game for Latino MC's.

And be on the look out for Nipsey Hussle and Kendrick Lamar. I think it's time for some new artist to come out of the west. You'll be hearing something mainstream from them soon.

But you saw my playlist, so you know I like Drake a lot too. His song 'Thank Me Now' hits on something that I find interesting: "Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous/'Cause we wanna be them and they wanna be us."

To make it in the NBA we stand as the top 1% of competitors and in doing so we feel like we can do anything. We can't help it. So when it comes to music or any other challenge, we're convinced we can do it at the highest level. If you see where I'm going with this - it doesn't always end up pretty. Instead of calling out the bad ones, I'll point out the players who have some musical talents: Marquis Daniels, Stephen Jackson, Alando Tucker, Iman Shumpert, Joe Smith and of course Shaq.

Those are the best I've seen and I'm sure there are more guys out there, so don't take offense if I've forgotten anyone.

But it also goes both ways everyone thinks they're a hooper.

And although Master P did get a try out with the Hornets, I will say we've got a better shot of putting out a hit rap album before they can make the NBA.