The Five Best Rappers at Basketball
The worlds of hip-hop and basketball intersect constantly. You can see the world’s best rappers at basketball games pretty much on a nightly basis. Drake even takes a business role with the Toronto Raptors as their Global Ambassador.
That goes both ways. Kevin Durant and LeBron James collaborated on a rap song during the 2011 NBA lockout. Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon, Damian Lillard, and Iman Shumpert have all released music videos recently. At the same time, some of the music industry’s most popular rappers played basketball in high school and college, before discovering music as their true passion.
It should come as no surprise then, that when these rappers aren’t in the studio recording their next hit, they’re in the gym getting shots up. The five best rappers at basketball might not be able to compete with the pros, but they can take your local rec league by storm.
The Five Best Rappers at Basketball
Jermaine Cole, better known by his stage name, “J Cole”, is widely revered as one of hip-hop’s best artists. Along with Drake and Kendrick Lamar, Cole is in the rap game’s current undisputed top three. The Fayetteville, North Carolina native played for his high school team in his junior and senior years. Teammates described Cole, 6’4”, as being the team’s best rebounder and shot-blocker.
After high school, Cole attended St. John’s University in New York. He tried out for the basketball team as a walk-on in his sophomore year and made the final cut, one of 10 walk-ons to do so. Despite choosing not to attend the second day of try-outs, Cole believes he was good enough to have made the team.
These days, the artist behind such hits as No Role Modelz and Work Out gets his basketball fix working out with NBA trainer Chris Brickley and getting buckets against the best of the best. Carmelo Anthony, Trae Young, and more have been seen hooping with Cole.
Although he’s not a professional basketball player, J Cole’s jump shot is pretty and his crossover is deadly. He’s easily one of the best rappers to play basketball.
The oldest member of the rap trio Migos, Quavo is silky smooth on the court as well as on the beat. Born Quavious Marshall, the Atlanta rapper never played basketball at an organized level, yet he can still hoop at the level of the best rappers at basketball.
There’s nothing quite as pretty as a left-handed jumper, and Quavo’s shot is no exception. He can score from all three levels, nailing deep threes and scoring around the rim at will. Whether it’s in pickup games squaring off against 6’10” Shareef O’Neal (yes, the son of Lakers great Shaquille O’Neal) or in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, Quavo never fails to get his buckets.
Tauheed “2 Chainz” Epps might have the most impressive hoops career among rappers who played basketball. Epps, who also graduated second in his high school class, was a key contributor to the Georgia state title-winning North Clayton High School basketball team in 1993.
A 6’5” guard, Epps was a coveted recruit coming out of high school. He elected to go to Alabama State, where he played just one season before leaving to pursue a music career that resulted in a Grammy win for Best Rap Performance. That Division-1 Alabama State squad competed against the likes of Ohio State and Georgetown. While not quite an impact player in his freshman year, coaches and teammates still believe that Epps could have had a professional basketball career.
Although not much current video exists of the rapper playing basketball, 2 Chainz can be seen hooping in shaky footage from his senior year at North Clayton.
Compton-raised rapper Jayceon Taylor stands at an imposing 6’3”. Known by hip-hop fans as The Game, Taylor mostly uses that size as an intimidation tactic. However, as is the case with many rappers, he played basketball as a youth.
Because his skill at basketball isn’t as public as it is with the other rappers listed so far, The Game isn’t regarded as one of the best rappers at basketball. The truth is though, with his size and aggressive play, the Grammy-nominated artist bullies even the best of amateur hoopers. He can also shoot from deep with the best of them, showing off his jumper at the Drew League and in other pickup leagues.
Percy “Master P” Miller is an absolute killer on the court. Because of their social media presence and relative youth, J Cole and Quavo are widely seen as the best rappers at basketball. They’re definitely good, don’t get me wrong. But, Master P is the best rapper to ever play basketball.
Miller grew up in New Orleans, playing basketball through high school. He attended the University of Houston on a basketball scholarship, but dropped out almost immediately.
After focusing on his rap career for the majority of the 1990s, releasing multiple billboard hits, including I Miss My Homies, Miller returned to his first love — basketball. In the 1998 preseason, he played for the Charlotte Hornets and, in the 1999 preseason, the Toronto Raptors. Although he wasn’t able to secure a contract with either organization, Miller performed admirably. During this time, he secured his position as being the best rapper at playing basketball.
Despite a lack of success in the NBA, Miller was able to find time playing professionally in the CBA and other minor basketball leagues. During his basketball career, Miller was still active on the hip-hop scene.
Percy Miller’s hoop dreams live on in the form of his sons, Hercy and Mercy (I know, not very creative) who both play for Minnehaha Academy, ESPN’s 14th-ranked high school team in America (one spot above viral Sierra Canyon). Before that, his son Romeo Miller played Division-1 basketball alongside NBA star DeMar DeRozan at USC.
Many rappers dabble in basketball, but Percy “Master P” Miller is the best rapper to ever play basketball. Unless a rapper plays in the NBA at any point in the future (fans are still calling for J Cole to get a 10-day contract), he always will be.