Damian “Dame Dolla” Lillard & The NBA’s Best Rappers


img_4025

It’s NBA Saturday night and Damian “Dame Dolla” Lillard will be performing on stage and this time I don’t mean the basketball court. Dame has had a passion for rap since his college days and coming into the NBA nothing has changed. The NBA & social media has given Lillard an even greater platform to display his musical talent. Dame used his social media to push a music movement named “4 Bar Friday” where Lillard pushed artists to send their best 4 bars and he would crown a winner every week. This movement allowed Dame to not only be seen as a ball player but gave him the chance to be seen as a music artist as well. Dame has put out 3 mixtapes with some great features that include Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, BJ The Chicago Kid and Jeremih. Check out some of Dame’s work down below as well as some of the NBA’s greatest rappers.

Another current player in the rap game is Iman Shumpert. Shump has played on his share of teams but most recently won a championship ring with LeBron James and the Cavs in 2016. Being drafted by the New York Knicks gave Iman an easy jump into the rap game as New York has great hip hop history and radio stations. Check out Shump spitting a freestyle on Funk Flex.

The first NBA player in the game was Shaquille O’neal and he didn’t disappoint. His career expanded when he joined the Los Angeles Lakers because Hollywood gave him the green light on just about anything. That anything included acting and rapping as Shaq put out movies in “Kazam” & “Blue Chips”. Scroll below to see one of Shaq’s music videos from the late 90’s.

Now you can’t have Shaq without Kobe, am I right? Yes I said Kobe… just like Shaq Hollywood allowed Kobe to put out a couple rap songs. A couple fun facts regarding Kobe’s music career: 1) Kobe was featured on a Brian McKnight song and 2) Kobe met his wife Vanessa on his music video shoot.

Allen Iverson really bridged the gap between the NBA & Hip Hop as not only his playing style was street but his wardrobe was as well. He’s one of the main reasons for the NBA dress code but he’s also one of the main reason the NBA & America’s culture changed in the 2000’s. Sports & music have the greatest impact on any culture and A.I. left his mark on both.

Metta World Peace, Ron Artest, Panda Friend whatever you want to call him the guys is a character! Metta coming from the Queensbridge New York projects he grew up in the mecca of Hip Hop. Just like all the players before him basketball has given him an opportunity to pursue music. After winning the championship with the Lakers, Artest dropped his song Champions.

The NBA & Hip Hop have always had a tight bond but that bond is only getting stronger with the help of Damian Lillard. Check out Dame Dolla’s music on all streaming platforms and make sure to watch him ball out all season long!

Touring LA: The Kobe Murals


img_3770

As Los Angeles mourns the recent loss of Kobe Bryant, the city has gained some amazing Kobe inspired murals. Artists around the city have brought the mamba mentality to their creativity with their respected visions of Kobe & Gianna Bryant. One thing that Bryant’s death has given us, is a sense of community. We always knew how strong Lakers nation was but it’s amazing to see LA come together like this. In a generation where social media is king, going to these murals and talking with fans alike has made LA feel closer than ever before.

The following will be a guide to most of the Mamba pieces around LA, so you can experience the greatness for yourself. Luckily most of them are within a 5 mile radius so you can hit them all in a day like I did!

Kobe Signature & Gigi- VEM Exotic Rentals (11459 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604)

img_3801

Kobe Galaxy – Custom Auto Craft (100 N. La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA)

img_3783

#8 Kobe/ Kobe & Gigi (1255 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA)

img_3770

img_3776

The Legend (7701 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA) Piece on N. Spaulding Ave Block

img_3790

Kobe & Gigi (7663 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA)

img_3792

Girl Dad (Pickford Market 4566 Pickford Street, Los Angeles, CA)

img_3796

Frobe (Shoe Palace 7725 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA)

img_3787

Champion Kobe (1318 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles CA)

img_3762

All of these murals are one of a kind, just like Kobe was. What I think is great is that it shows so many different sides of the Kobe we all knew. Remember to check out Staples Center ASAP as his memory is living on around LA Live in an unforgettable way. My recommendation is to either start their or end there. It will either fuel your fire to go on this journey or end it with a champion celebration. So get out there and pay your respects, it will be an experience you will never forget.

 

Kobe Bryant: Los Angeles Forever Hero


NBA Finals Game 7: Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Los Angeles wasn’t ready for the joy, the heart, and the determination a 17 year old kid from Lower Merion High School was going to bring into their lives. The only person ready at the time…Kobe Bryant. While Lakers GM Jerry West believed in him, most people probably thought he should be in college studying. The funny thing is, Kobe was a student of the game and had been studying not only basketball but the NBA his entire life.

The son of former NBA player, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, Kobe had a love for the game that was unmatched from an early age. Bryant’s youngest years were during his fathers basketball career transitioning from the NBA to International ball. Even though the young Bryant was growing up in Italy that only fueled his love for the game as he would study NBA games his family would send to him from America.

Kid Kobe

Nobody knew that a kid growing up in Italy was going to take America by storm. As Kobe mentioned in his Showtime documentary “Kobe Bryant’s Muse”, he hated his new life back in Philadelphia. He ate his lunches alone, he was the outcast, but he let his game do the talking in the process. He used all his pent up anger, all the discomfort and turned it into greatness. Just one of the lessons Kobe would teach us in his lifetime.

After an amazing senior season where he would lead his team to a state championship and be awarded the Naismith National Player of the Year, Kobe would enter the NBA Draft. The Lakers would trade up for Bryant, and were ready to build a franchise on the back of a 17 year old kid who needed his parents to sign his first contract.

Rookie Kobe

The Lakers paired their young star with another superstar in the making Shaquille O’neal who had signed a monster contract in free agency. Kobe’s first couple of years weren’t as easy as he had hoped. One game that changed his career and helped create the Kobe we know today was a playoff game against the Utah Jazz. Kobe would air ball four shots in crucial moments late in the game, which the Lakers would lose the series to the Jazz. That moment would eat Kobe up as he would once again use adversity to fuel his fire and love for the game.

The fire lit by adversity, the pairing with Shaq, the hiring of coaching legend in Phil Jackson all led to an amazing dynasty that would bring the Lakers and Los Angeles three straight championships. It was a new era in Laker land, all led by a 21 year old star who dreamed of being a Laker his whole life.

Shaq KobeKobe Chip

Shaq would later go to the Heat and there were many tough losing seasons that followed. Kobe stayed loyal to the Lakers and Los Angeles stayed loyal to him. He showed us that tough times don’t last, tough people do. He got us through the tough times and brought us two more championships with a new and improved team.

Even later in his career, he taught us to never give up. After tearing his achilles, he knew his team needed him so he stepped up and knocked down two free throws like only Kobe could. In his last game against Utah he did the unthinkable and dropped 60 points leading the Lakers to victory and giving us one last amazing moment to cherish.

Kobe’s work ethic was unmatched, his drive to win was insane, he was a hero and a villain. These characteristics would bring happiness to fans, get under the skin of his rivals and push his teammates to be better than they ever thought they could be. No matter what character he portrayed, he had the respect of everyone in the room.

Respect was very important to Kobe. The respect he had for the game, for his teammates, for his opponents, and for himself taught us that relationships are everything. While Michael Jordan’s career was ending as his was beginning, he soaked up as much as he could from the greatest of all time. Their game had so much in common, their drive was the same but they were two different beasts.

Jordan Kobe

Kobe was definitely the student, but soon he became the teacher. Not only was he showing the league what he was capable of, but he would show another teenager in LeBron James how to become great in a grown man’s league just like he once did. The entire basketball world, would pin Kobe & Lebron against each other for years but that only made their bond stronger. So strong that once Kobe would hang his Nike’s up for good, LeBron would join the Lakers and try to carry on the legacy that Kobe built but respecting his greatness in the process.

Kobe taught us life on and off the basketball court. He taught us to never give up, that hard work pays off, to motivate each other, to push ourselves beyond comfort, to love the process and to respect one another. As Los Angeles and the world continues to mourn the loss of our hero, we will celebrate him as we celebrated the buzzer beaters, the championships, and all of the moments that we loved. We will continue to live the way Kobe taught us to live, and pass it on to our future generations. We will get through this, we will stand up, walk to the free throw line and make two free throws for Kobe, for Gigi, for us.

img_3711

RECAP: The Return Of Kobe Bryant!


kobe jersey

The anticipation of Kobe’s return was at a high level to say the least. Bryant, one of  the top players in the league for the last 17 years returned from a torn Achilles injury Sunday night against the Toronto Raptors. It had been 240 days since Lakers fans had heard, “At the other guard, wears number 24, at 6-6, 18th campaign from Lower Merion High School, Kobe Bryant”. Last night they got their wish!

Everyone was at the edge of their seat waiting for Kobe to touch the ball and score that first basket! Kobe took a different approach and came out passing the ball and getting teammates involved.

It wasn’t until midway through the second quarter that Kobe got his first basket. It was a double pumpfake, leaner with the left hand for a bank shot and two points. Staples Center and the Lakers bench erupted!

Overall you could tell Kobe was trying to find his rhythm in a game he hasn’t played in months. Also his teammates seemed a little bit nervous and confused about how to react to him on the court. All in all, Kobe has some rust to brush off and confidence to gain back…..and dare i say it…..a championship to win! Mr. Bryant finished the night with 9 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in 28 minutes. The Lakers lost 106-94 in Kobe’s return and according to his interview he feels like he has a lot of work to do.

Welcome Back Kobe Bryant.

Nike Unveils The Kobe 9!!


nike-kobe-9-1

 

Nike unveiled the new Kobe 9 shoes at The Museum of Contemporary Art on Wednesday, December 4th. The 9 is the first shoe in the Kobe line that is a high top and to feature Nike’s Flyknit to keep it light.

KB 2

 

Another very cool piece added to the Kobe 9 are red lines on the back of the shoe symbolizing Kobe’s torn Achilles injury. This will mean a lot when Kobe laces his shoes tonight as he returns from his injury against the Toronto Raptors!

KOBE ACHILLES

The Nike Kobe 9 will release February 8th for a retail price of $225!

KB