By Teddy Gutkin
LeBron James is…..Kendrick Lamar
This one’s easy. The best player in the world is the best rapper in the world. These two have garnered acclaim throughout their storied careers, and seemingly every time a big rapper or NBA player breaks onto the scene people try and hype them up as the “next LeBron” or “next Kendrick.” Both of these guys have also won a plethora of accolades, and often refrain from using social media when working on their biggest projects (Kendrick recording his albums, LeBron playing in the postseason). Oh, and did I mention that seemingly everyone in the rap game and the NBA wants to work with LeBron/Kendrick?
Stephen Curry is…..Drake
Both of these guys are arguably the most famous players in their respective fields, and have helped redefine the areas they specialize in. Curry has become the leader of a recent three-point revolution, and Drake has helped blend Caribbean influences into the rap genre. However, despite their success, neither of these guys are the best in their fields. Drake will never be as good as Kendrick, and Curry will never be as good as LeBron.
Kawhi Leonard is….Big Sean
Kawhi Leonard and Big Sean are both tremendous talents, though it often feels like their work goes unnoticed despite being lightyears ahead of some of the individuals who receive more recognition. Big Sean consistently puts out number 1 albums, just like Leonard racks up Defensive Player of the Year awards and All-Star appearances, though it seems that not enough people acknowledge their incredible achievements.
Kevin Durant is….Kanye West
Kanye West is the type of rapper that you either worship or hate with a burning passion. Same can go for Kevin Durant. Both KD and Kanye were among the most acclaimed in their respective fields during the early parts of their careers, though the public’s opinion has begun to deteriorate in recent years, whether it be Kanye’s lackluster records and overpriced Yeezy shoes or Durant’s departure from OKC to join a superteam in Golden State.
Russell Westbrook is….Lil’ Wayne
Like Westbrook was a part of a stacked Thunder team in the early 2010s, Lil’ Wayne was once part of a hit hip hop group called The Wet Boyz. However, Wayne and Westbrook saw their group members depart, and ended up having the best seasons/albums of their careers after being forced to perform on their own.
James Harden is….Travis Scott
You get an easy layup right away with this comparison: Travis Scott is the biggest rapper to come out of Houston in the last decade, and Harden is the biggest star on a stacked Rockets squad. It’s also worth noting that both Scott and Harden are unbelievable performers on their solo songs/teams, and more than capable of holding their own, though the presence of other stars, like Eric Gordon on the Rockets or Kendrick Lamar’s feature on “Goosebumps,” elevates them to another stratosphere.
Anthony Davis is….J. Cole
AD is one of the best players in the NBA, and J. Cole is one of the best rappers on the planet. However, it seems that they often have to do their work alone. While AD got DeMarcus Cousins to join him in New Orleans, he previously had to carry the Pelicans on his own night in and night out, putting up video-game numbers the same way that J. Cole churns out acclaimed albums despite not having any featured artists. Also, it seems that both J. Cole and AD are unquestionably among the best in their fields, though they also receive the most questions when their names are brought up with the best.
Kyrie Irving is….Quavo
Quavo is probably going to leave Migos to pursue a solo career. Kyrie left LeBron in Cleveland to become the star player in Boston with the Celtics. Both Quavo and Kyrie know that they can do bigger things when they are the center of attention, and care more about enhancing their own future success instead of remaining with a group that looked to be on the verge of something legendary.
Damian Lillard is….Chance the Rapper
Both Lillard and Chance came from humble beginnings (Lillard playing at Weber State and Chance making free mixtapes for streaming sites), but now find themselves near the top of their respective fields. Chance seemingly always turns in great verses, especially on his features, just like Lillard always finds a way to come through for the Blazers in crunch time. It also doesn’t hurt that Lillard is likely the best rapper among NBA players.
Kristaps Porzingis is...Anderson .paak
You could make an argument that Phil Jackson is the Dr. Dre of the NBA. He has helped to revolutionize offense as we know it, and his system helped two of the best players of the last 20 years (Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant) reach their full potential. However, Dre has been fairly quiet since signing Kendrick Lamar, though he did sign a rapper/singer/drummer who appears destined for stardom: Anderson .paak. Likewise, Jackson recently picked Kristaps Porzingis for the New York Knicks (the only real good move of his tenure), who has blossomed into a future superstar with his ability to shoot, drive, and play tremendous defense inside. Both Porzingis and .paak are unlike anything their respective fields have seen in quite some time, and both figure to hear their names listed with the best in the NBA and rap as their careers continue to progress.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is….Childish Gambino
Like Gambino, Giannis is finally seeing his star shine. Gambino had already received acclaim for his role on the sitcom Community, though he has since blossomed into one of the most talented artists in the world, writing, directing, and starring in his own TV Atlanta (which earned him 2 Emmy awards,) producing a hit album (Awaken, My Love!) and booking parts in the Han Solo movie and The Lion King remake. Simply put, there is no one like Gambino in the entertainment world right now, just as there is no one like Giannis. The “Greek Freak” can seemingly play any position, reach the basket from the three-point line in 2 steps, throw down thunderous dunks over anyone who crosses his path, and send shots into the stands with thunderous rejections. These two look like they can be the future of their industries, and play a huge part in revolutionizing both basketball and rap.
What rappers do you think resemble NBA player? Do you agree with these comparisons? Let me know in the comments below!
(Image via USA Today)