In the words of Drake on “Thank Me Now” there’s always been mutual appreciation, perhaps envy, between ball players and rappers, “Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous/’cause we wanna be them and they wanna be us.”
True words for your headtop from Drizzy, god knows he’s tried to ride the wave of multiple sports teams, both collegiate and professional. But this article is not about Drake’s wave-riding and its discontents.
This article is about the rappers out there who made a decision to go from playing ball to spitting bars. While not every one of these dudes could’ve necessarily made it in the league, they all played at a pretty high level, but fell off for various reasons.
We’re glad all these dudes chose to get off the court and into the booth, but we can’t help but think what might have been…
Cam’ron recently posted on his Instagram that he gave the business to multiple-ex NBA players who grew up in New York, including Stephon Marbury. He added a postscript that the only dude that got the best of him was the infamous New York City playground legend Shamgod.
During Cam’ron’s sophomore year of high school at Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, a trio of Cam, Mase, and Richie Parker (who got a scholarship to Seton Hall revoked for sex assault charges) led their high school to the state championship game, defeating Marbury’s Lincoln team on the way.
In the final, Cam bricked a three with his team down 55-53 and that one shot determined his future. Cam claims to have offers from Miami, Georgetown, Syracuse, et al., but after missing the shot, he immediately bought two ounces, never went back to school, and the rest is history.
Cam recently challenged Stephon Marbury to a game of one-on-one in MSG with the proceeds going to charity. We’ll have to wait to see if that ever pans out, in the meantime you can watch clips of Cam balling back in the day. But could he have gone pro?
As the second-half of the backcourt on that Manhattan Science and Mathematics game, Mase also is a legend of the New York City high school basketball scene. His story isn’t quite as intense or dramatic as Cam’s, but still perhaps left him thinking what could have been.
Mase was recruited out of Harlem to play at SUNY-Purchase, and was the starting point guard as a freshman. His plan for his entire life was always to play in the NBA, but after a couple semesters at Purchase, Mase moved home back to Harlem, determined to make it as a rapper.
The Game, as his moniker suggests, could ball. Coming from the same Compton High School as Tayshaun Prince, Baron Davis (Game’s best friend), Tyson Chandler, and Gilbert Arenas, Game was virtually surrounded by elite basketball talent.
Game claims to have enrolled at Washington State University only to be expelled for drugs possession. For what it’s worth, WSU denies he was ever enrolled at the University, but Baron Davis has vouched for Game’s game, especially his dunks.
2 Chainz, real name Tauheed Epps, was a college ballplayer, and he was apparently pretty good. Coming out of College Park, Georgia, 2 Chainz was recruited to Alabama State, where his college coach hailed his versatility. According to Complex, Alabama State’s coach Clayton Harris was so impressed with Chainz’s
“ability to play the point guard, shooting guard, and small forward position and amazed by his family background and focus on scholastics that Alabama State felt compelled to extend him a scholarship offer.”
That’s some pretty high praise coming from the coach. It makes sense the Daniel Son Necklace Don artist could play, given his lanky 6’5” frame.
In 35 games with Alabama State, 2Chainz scored 2.8 ppg in 11 minutes. It’s safe to say, we’re glad to have him in the hip-hop world, no lie.
The only guy on this list that actually made a roster in The Association, Master P could ball.
Coming out of Booker T. Washington High School in New Orleans, Master P got an athletic scholarship to the University of Houston but had to drop out after a couple of months due to a knee injury and would go on to start No Limit Records.
But P’s dream was never dead. In both 1998 and 1999 Master P had pre-season contracts with both the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors, respectively.
He actually played pretty well, averaging 8 points in pre-season, but he never got a shot at the big time. He can proudly say he wore an NBA jersey, though.