Listen, we know most of you aren't paying attention to the NBA finals like you were last year, but for those of who are (some out of Heat Hate, some out of love for the game), we've been treated to some rather abysmal NBA promos featuring Linkin Park's shitty, shitty music.
This is nothing new, as music and basketball have had a Chris Brown-Drake like relationship throughout the years, with the league continually fumbling for music and inadvertently giving performers the biggest moments, while the players try their hand at making music that can barely be categorized as such. Here are a few of the more cringe-worthy ones.
J.R. Rider, "Funk In the Trunk" For reasons no one really understands, in 1994 Epic Records decided to pair hip-hop stars like Warren G with up-and -coming NBA stars like Jason Kidd, Shaq, Dana Barros and J.R. Rider, to make a rap album. The results were predictably terrible, as the athletes proved to have little to no flow and the artist seemed to be there just for the check and the chance to hang out with some sports stars. Dallas native and future kidnapper J.R. Rider was particularly egregious with his track "Funk In the Trunk," which makes references to guns and violence, both things he would eventually get in trouble for.
Allen Iverson, "40 Barz" No one in the history of the league has caused as much pearl-clutching as Allen Iverson, the centerpiece of the old school versus new school debate, and cause of countless sports writers declaring the game lost to a generation of hip-hop "thugs." Iverson caused a minor uproar in the summer of 2000, when "40 Bars" hit the airwaves. Although pretty tame by most millennial rap song standards, Iverson's use of homophobic lyrics prompted vocal criticism from special interest groups and NBA Commissioner David Stern. Iverson agreed to change the lyrics, but he had problems finding financing for the album's release, and eventually he abandoned the project.
Kobe Bryant, "K.O.B.E." featuring Tyra Banks "Huh...huh...huh you're silly." The man who will one day be the NBA's all-time scoring leader actually starts a song with that line. It's one thing to put out an album out of hubris, it's another to have a supermodel ask you about how many girls are after you in a song. It's amazing how much Kobe sounds like Will Smith. Actually, this whole song sounds like it was cut from Smith's Big Willie Style, with its cloying sing-along chorus and the lackadaisical flow, mixed with an overproduced Latin beat. Honestly who would have thought Tyra Banks' inclusion would be the least of this song's issues?
The NBA uses Rob Thomas for its playoff run. Twice. What could be worse than Kobe and Tyra's ego fest? Well, in 2005, the NBA decided to capture the cultural zeitgeist of 1996 by using Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas' "This Is How a Heartbreaks." Nothing says completely out of touch with your demographic like choosing a song from the guy who sang on a Santana song six years earlier as the soundtrack for your season's biggest moment. You can almost guarantee this was brought on by David Stern's 13-year-old granddaughter semi-shrugging when asked what type of music she liked while VH1 played somewhere in the background. Inexplicably, the NBA repeated this mistake again just four years later when they decided to use another Thomas track, "Meltdown."
Shaq freestyles over "It Takes Two," Mark Madsen confirms every '80s comedian's "White Guy Dancing" stereotype. Black people dance like this. White people dance by awkwardly twirling their fist in the air while their tee shirt is tucked into their pants.
Ron Artest eulogizes Michael Jackson in song Released shortly after the King of Pop's death in 2009, Ron Artest's absurdly low-fi tribute rap finds the basketball player dropping lyrics like "I know a thug will cry for you" and "I cry for Mike." Just an utterly bizarre move by a bizarre individual who once tried to take off time mid-season to promote a self-released album.Though the artwork in the video is rather amazing, and I want a print to hang in my bedroom.
Tony Parker is France's biggest rap star, or so I would assume Parker actually had a single hit number one in France with this single, off his 2007 album, TP. It has everything you want from French hip-hop: Eva Longoria, funky house beats, a kid singing/rapping, people dancing under a black light, people whispering and Tony Parker rapping, "Tony P all-star NBA!"
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NOTE: I have no idea what the French look for in their rap music, I'm just making broad assumptions based on this video.
Carl Lewis murders the National Anthem in front of 18,000 people, loses all of America's good will. Presented without comment.
BONUS: If you watched any of the above, please cleanse your palate with the greatest rendition of the National Anthem, performed by Marvin Gaye at the 1983 NBA All Star game. It's not always bad when music and basketball cross over.