So I guess I’m second out the gate with my Starting 5? Cool, say less. In the dark days of no NBA basketball until Thursday, I’ve had time to read and assess T. Lee’s Starting 5, just as I have had time to assess many of yall’s reactions and boy have I been raring to get in the conversation! Before we get into this, let me go ahead and give y’all the disclaimer. While I recognize the greatness of the past and the generations that have come before, I will be basing this list on a more current /active selection of rappers and ball players. So in layman’s terms for Mr. I Wanna Complain For Complaining’s Sake, YES NIGGA I KNOW MICHAEL JORDAN IS THE GREATEST BASKETBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME! YES NIGGA I KNOW HOV IS THE GREATEST RAPPER OF ALL TIME!! NAS AND KANYE ARE ON MY MT. RUSHMORE! NOBODY IS IGNORING KOBE B.A.N!! Now that that’s out the way, let’s get into this Starting 5.
PG) Drake – Player comparison: Stephen Curry
If you’re reading this, you probably know that Drake is my guy. You probably have a preconceived notion that “Kenny just looking out for his boy”, you probably knew Flow was going to find a way to glorify Drake in his piece. If these are your thoughts, let me comfort you in letting you know, you got damn right!!! And if you don’t like it, MORE CHUNE FOR YOUR HEADTOPS SO WATCH HOW YOU SPEAK ON MY NAME Y’KNOW!! No but seriously, my Drake to Steph comparison is a very valid one if you look at the optics. Outside of both being lightskin assassins, Drake and Steph have a lot more in common than what meets the eye. One overlooked detail is criticism from predecessors. Both Drake and Steph have been criticized heavily by those that came before them based on a reluctance of acceptance on how they play the game. “All Steph does is shoot 3’s, if this was my NBA we’d rough him up and get him off the 3 point line.” “All Drake is does is ride waves, can he be original?” “Is he a singer , is he a pop star or is he a rapper?” Blah, blah, blah. FOH. Regardless of what criticism you chose to bring out of your hate closet, both of these guys know how to WIN, which is my next point. Both Steph and Drake have proven to be flat out winners. With Steph having a championship and an MVP award and Drake going platinum every time he decides to breathe on a track, not to mention making Adele eat her heart out, there’s nothing you can say to me about the success rate of these two. My final point in this comparison is range. If you’ve ever caught a Warriors game, one of the most exciting aspects of it is watching Steph pull up from damn near half court and draining the 3 with little to no effort. Nobody in the NBA, past or present, has more range than Steph Curry. That same sentiment can be made about the 6 God. No other artist in rap has more range than Aubrey Graham and no other artist can make the range of songs Drake can make. From diss tracks, to stunt rap ,to time stamp Drake (which is my favorite Drake), to Island vibe tings, to R&B Drake, no other artist can pull up from anywhere and attack with the sheer accuracy that Drake can, hell just listen to More Life if you don’t believe me.
SG) Travis Scott – Player Comparison: James Harden
I know, I know, shit’s too easy. But there was no way I was constructing a team without my guy Beard, so deal with it. While you’re reading this and already making the Houston comparison, Travis Scott and James Harden have a little more in common than macking the same jawns at the Galleria. Like James Harden, Travis Scott has immense star level potential. With Beard coming off of what many consider a MVP caliber season and Travis coming off of Birds In the Trap, which I considered the best album in 2016, it’s clear that both the NBA and the rap game are on notice for what’s to come with these guys, only way to go is up from here!
SF) Kendrick Lamar – Player Comparison: LeBron James
I GOT, I GOT, I GOT, I GOT….Kendrick Lamar compared to Bron in my starting 5. Yes bro, against all odds, against GABOS’ recommendation, I STILL have Kendrick Lamar ranked as LeBron James. This is primarily because I already said it #OnWax on Good Culture Podcast EP.36 and also because ain’t nobody preyin’ for him . Yes, you read that right, nobody’s preying for him, as in nobody’s seeing him. Just as James is head and shoulders above his peers, I FEEL. like Kendrick Lamar is head and shoulders above anybody in the current state of rap that decides to pick up a microphone. Some might say Cleveland’s #23 has skins in the game; 14 seasons, 4 MVPs, 3 championships and counting. Some may say to hold off on the Kendrick Comparison, to them I say, nah eff that. Let’s take a look at Kendrick’s resume’, he’s 4/4 on quality albums, 2 of which are classics by my standards, so that means currently half of what he’s touching is classic music, who else is doing that? There is no other artist in rap who is at Kendrick’s table, kind of how there is no other player in the NBA who is at LeBron’s table. That being said, it’s no longer fair to compare Kendrick to the field, we now have to compare him to himself or the likes of the greats. Who does that sound like? I mean look we can act gingerly if we want to when it comes to Kendrick, just like we did when we first saw Bron. We can continue to act like only time will tell but all know Kendrick coming for his place on Mt. Rushmore.
PF) Chance the Rapper – Player Comparison: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Mr. Complain Just For Complaining’s Sake , yes fam, I know Giannis plays the 3 but if you know the game, you’ll get what I’m doing in just a second. Thank you for your time. Giannis Antetokounmpo, The Greek Freak, a player you can’t help but to marvel at. 6’11, 7’0 foot wingspan, can jump out the gym and bring the ball up the floor like a guard, is enough to make you say WTF? WTF am I watching and how TF is he doing this? And how is he so young? Enter, Chance the Rapper, the young Chicago lyricist who took over our 2016 with his fire ass album (or?) “mixtape” Coloring Book, which by the way could get spins on the way to the club or to Sunday School. He’s also the guy who stole the show on The Life of Pablo’s “Ultralight Beam” and he’s also the guy who donated $1 Million to Chicago public schools. He earned that money by refusing to sign to a major label! *GASP* WTF?!?!?! In the same ways you look at Giannis and see the next 10 -12 years of basketball, you can look at Chance and know that we truly have a gem in waiting and if this is what he’s given us at such a young age, only God knows what’s to come.
C) Gucci Mane– Player Comparison: Marc Gasol
Yeah I know it’s not the sexiest pick, but if you show me a man who wouldn’t start Marc Gasol, I can show you a fool. Also point me to the man that says Gucci ain’t to be respected in the game and I can show you another fool. That being said, here’s why the Gucci to Marc Gasol comparison makes sense. Just like Marc Gasol, Gucci is a savvy vet in the game who affects the game in more ways than you think. Like Gasol, Gucci is known to get his, when Gucci scores he scores. But one attribute that Gucci and Gasol have in common that most people sleep on, is the ability to assist, and NOBODY assists like Gucci. While Gucci was away on his federal paid vacation, it was hard not to hear his influence on the game because a vast majority of the young trap artist that we’ve come to love in the last few years , Gucci either found, cosigned or gave them their first major look. Thugger, Migos, Mike-Will-Made-It, Zaytoven, Young Scooter, Young Dolph, Pee Wee Longway and many others owe Gucci that credit. All my children , indeed!