Rappers We Like That Don’t Suck At Basketball

It’s cool when people are really good at more than one thing. Neil Armstrong could walk on Earth and the moon. LeBron James can carry Larry Hughes and Kevin Love to separate NBA Finals. Michael Scott can revive a dying paper company multiple times while verbally backhanding Toby every day.

Those are pretty cool things, but those are to be expected from cultural giants such as those esteemed gentlemen. What isn’t expected, but is still really dope, is when rappers we like don’t suck at basketball.

Rappers love to rap about how great it would be to play in the NBA, and ballers love to talk about how great it would be to be a rapper. Some do both, and most of them only do one of those things even marginally well. Very, very few are good at both.

Damian Lillard can spit hot fire, but he’s much better at shooting threes in your eye over and over. Lil Uzi Vert can make hit songs about all the dead presidents he’s got (you know, money) but he’s really exceedingly awful at basketball. There’s a short clip of him “playing basketball” on the internet, but it’s like watching a baby bird fail to fly. It’s depressing. You should watch it.

There are a few talents that can crossover (sorry) to either basketball or rapping, doing either thing pretty well. If you ask me there are only four that are worth considering, and obviously, they’re listed below.

J Cole

J Cole got cut his freshman year of high school then managed to get playing time here and there in his final two years, mostly as a wing with his long reach and pushing 6’3” he was one of the taller guys on a small squad. They still did work though, as they had the Coach of the Year and Player of the Year of their conference. 

Cole’s highlight:

On Senior Night he broke away on a fastbreak after swiping the ball, rushing down the court all on his own. No pressure, right? Nope, all the pressures were felt. PSI going crazy. 

Sensing that a dunk was inbound, the bench players stood up, anticipating a nice one-handed jam, one of them probably with his arms out, sort of implying that he’s going to need to be held back during the dunk celebration, but there was no need.

Cole can rap better than 99.999999999999% of us on this planet, but like 99.999999999999% of us, he can’t dunk. Well, he can dunk, but it isn’t clean, and this wide open dunk on Senior Night violently bounced off the rim and high into the air.

Everyone was sad, but only for a moment; Cole quickly gathered himself and the ball, finishing with a layup that got the crowd almost as loud as if he’d made the dunk. It’s like he showed up to a party without any beer but brought some food and people were like, “I could eat.”

His senior year also coincided with LeBron James’ final high school campaign, which is just a little somethin’ for ya.

2 Chainz

It’s easy to see that 2 Chainz (Tauheed Epps to the Feds) played basketball before he started delivering hilarious punchlines and wearing two chains.

A staunch 6’5” in high school (that’s when he stopped growing), 2 Chainz could handle the ball well and did his best to stay out of the key. When you’re skinny, it’s hard to maintain a physical presence under the basket even when you’re tall, and when you can shoot, scoring from 2 feet away from the hoop is pretty boring so he stayed around the three-point line.

If you’re imagining a young Chainz dropping no-look dimes and draining fadeaway threes, then you’re practically Nostradamus; he’s been flashy since day one and loved to yack ‘em whenever he got the chance. If And-1 mixtapes were around in 1995, he would definitely have one.

Able to play any position at the high school level, 2 Chainz played a major role during his senior year, leading them to a triple-overtime win against their local rival (he hit a buzzer beater to send the game to OT, then did it again to go to a second OT).  

2 Chainz’s highlight:

Due to his length and skill, Tauheed got some looks from D-1 schools like the University of Memphis, but they passed on him because of his lack of girth. (They had just lost Penny Hardaway to the NBA, and he was skinny, but apparently 2 Chainz was just too thin.)

Think about that – a 6’5” guy with handles and a silky jumper who could play point guard as well as a wing, was passed on because he had trouble gaining weight. Good thing though, because if Memphis had signed him, we might not have the “Birthday Song”. Thanks for having a crazy fast metabolism, 2 Chainz!

Alabama State’s coaching staff were able to recognize a real one when they saw it, and thus Tity Boi became a collegiate athlete. He didn’t play much, but hey, he got a spot on a college basketball team, which is much better than Lil Uzi.

Sheck Wes

Potentially the best hooper on this list, Sheck Wes is a 19-year-old rapper/model/baller from Harlem. He’s got soooo many flows, and girls keep calling his phone. It’s a problem.

Anyways. At 6’2”, Sheck is thin and lanky, making him an adept player who is hard to defend. Unfortunately, there’s no video of him playing that I can find, but he managed to play AAU in New York as a youngin’, which is about as easy as breaking out as a rapper in New York. 

Sheck’s highlight:

After being chosen to appear in Yeezy Season 2, Sheck had a tough decision: make his break as a model, or miss the entire high school season. If he went to the show, Sheck wouldn’t be able to play at all after missing too many classes that year. He chose to hoop, and you might think that he made a dumb decision, as who wouldn’t want to model for Kanye’s shit, but it worked out just fine; Sheck would appear in Yeezy Season 3, choosing to wear Kanye’s clothes instead of playing in a playoff game.

How is that a highlight? Well, it’s not a basketball highlight, but it’s related to basketball and it launched Sheck’s career, so it’s a highlight of some sort. I don’t know. If he played in that game, we might not have “Mo Bamba” to play really loudly over and over again, so thanks to Kanye, I guess. 


Quavo, the self-proclaimed “Head Huncho” of the Migos trio, makes this list despite his lack of legit hooping experience. He never played in high school, but that’s because he was slinging a football around (which he was pretty damn good at).

He makes this list for swatting the absolute shit out of Rachel De Mita and winning MVP of the 2018 Celebrity All-Star Game. He scored 19 points against celebs who are absolutely terrible at basketball (minus Rachel, who played college hoops), but that’s still a worthy accomplishment.

He rebounded well, played defense, and managed to score more than everyone else who played, thus earning the MVP trophy (which should have been iced the fuck out).

Quavo’s highlight:

For once, here’s video so I don’t have to poorly describe what he did/make it all up. 

Not bad, not bad at all.

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