The popularity and notoriety of NBA stars are at an all-time high; players are hosting television shows, appearing on songs with famous artists, creating investing companies, and expanding their empire well beyond the 94 feet of hardwood.
While basketball is dominating the mainstream media, so too is hip-hop and its surrounding culture. According to statistics provided by Billboard and MRC Data, hip-hop claimed 31.1% of all audio/video streams in the United States in 2020.
There is a famous saying that ballers want to be rappers, and rappers want to be ballers, and today, we are going to dive into exactly who the NBA’s best and brightest would be if they were forced to take on an alter ego.
LeBron James: Jay-Z
LeBron James is a business mogul, is considered to be the elder statesman of his profession, has been in well-publicized feuds with mainstream wrongdoings, and is commonly referred to as the greatest of all time— this one is pretty much a perfect match.
Kevin Durant: J Cole
I know Kevin Durant might be cooler than Cole, but they both keep to themselves and are adored by purists of the game/music industry. They are also known to be incredibly consistent and drop record-setting performances when their time arrives and mirror each other in that way.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: DMX
Their actual voices could not sound more different, but they both rely on energy and uniqueness to be at their very best. While DMX was famous for mimicking dog barks in his songs, the Greek Freak is a dog on the court, bullying his way past defenders with brute strength and aggressiveness, the way Giannis Antetoukounmpo usually does.
Damian Lillard: Too $hort
This one was solidified when Damian Lillard started jiving to “Blow the Whistle” while backpedaling down the court in Game One of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers. Dame is from Oakland, is very cool and collected, and known to command the attention and respect of an entire area, just like his alter ego.
Steph Curry: Drake
Both parties are seen as friendlier, vulnerable people, but both are extraordinarily talented and can perform better than anybody else on their day. Steph Curry is also likened to the ordinary man in a game of giants, just as Drake is the nice guy in a vicious industry— for that reason, they resemble each other.
James Harden: Lil Baby
Aside from their well-known friendship with each other, they are both from a new-school style of performance and can get hotter than anybody else in a short period of time. If you want proof, watch James Harden’s 60-point triple-double while listening to “Wants and Needs,” and it will make sense.
Kawhi Leonard: Kendrick Lamar
There are two quiet, reserved people that dominate their field in an almost unnoticeable manner. Both hail from southern California and have too many accolades to remember, though you would never know that if you met them.
Joel Embiid: 50 Cent
Alright, both excel in the art of trolling and are controversial figures for their words and actions at times, but both are well-loved by fans all over and consistently perform when expected to. This is definitely my favorite on the list.
Kyrie Irving: Young Thug
Both Kyrie Irving and Young Thug are completely different from everyone else in their profession, which certain people like and others do not. Both fall victim to the “love them or hate them” problem but have produced memorable moments and are unquestionably among the best in their line of work.
Nikola Jokic: Andre 3000
There are no two people on this list that look more different physically than these two, but the parallels are spectacular. Three Stacks and Nikola Jokic led their team, or group, are known for their tacky wizardry and created new styles that were not well received at first but inspired future success. They are, in complete honesty, a perfect resemblance to each other.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.