Basketball and hip-hop are inseparable – two Siamese twins conjoined at the hip thinking and breathing in perfect harmony. The personality of the game extending to the music and the music extending to the game. It’s a symbiotic relationship that’s made for some interesting headlines whether it be Jay-Z‘s insane gift to Skylar Diggins or Wale confronting Raptors analyst Matt Devlin during a telecast. Rewinding a few years later it was Master P making a run with the Hornets and Raptors. A decade prior Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin were paying homage to RUN DMC. The storylines are infinite. And with the NBA Playoffs in full swing, we’ve decided to pick some choice songs where hoops and rap collide in dramatic, often hilarious ways. So go five lyrics from some overlooked gems.

Serengeti – ‘Kenny vs. Spring

Scottie Pippen; photo:N/AWhen the then Seattle Supersonics selected a lanky walk on from Central Arkansas named Scottie Pippen in the ’87 draft, they did so with the intent to trade him to the Chicago Bulls for scrappy big man Olden Polynice (yes, the same Olden Polynice who was arrested twice for impersonating a cop). Six championships, a Hall of Fame nod, and a couple of head slaps later from Sonics GM Bob Whitsitt it’s pretty clear who got the better end of the deal. Chicago sports fanatic Serengeti uses this overlooked little trade factoid as fodder for his debut release on the Asthmatic Kitty imprint. Go ahead and guess why old Pip was given his now infamous nickname: [LISTEN]

Back in ’88 Missing in Action III
Same year the Bulls drafted Olden Polynice
Traded him for Scott, “No Tippin” Pippen
Sellers and Corzine, members of the team

Longshot – ‘Len Bias

Len Bias; Photo:N/ALeonard Bias is the cautionary tale every NBA player hears about when they first set foot into the League. If you know basketball you know what his story represents. He’s an example of too much too fast, and how nothing is ever guaranteed. And to think his reign could have extended the Boston dynasty for another ten years. It’s still a heated topic of discussion as to who would have been the better player – Len or Jordan – unfortunately it’s a debate that’ll be forever confined to local barbershop banter. Longshot offers a nice little recap of the rise and fall of young Bias, and what’s most impressive is how he holds the legendary phenom accountable for his actions: [LISTEN]

Destined for greatness a lost legend on the wall
Of our memories remember me, I hope they do the same as for Leonard
The best ever that never became
And you can try to blame, but the fact that he died young
Was nobody’s fault but his own because he tried some

Guilty Simpson – ‘Jungle Love

Shaquille O Neal; Photo:N/AIt’s likely Guilty Simpson penned this line thinking that Shaq never pulled up from deep. Well he did, 22 times to be exact. He even made one of them, giving him a whopping 4.5 percent mark for his career. No big deal right? Wrong. It was enough of a stat gem to give the big fella the confidence he needed to beat Sir Charles in an impromptu three point shooting contest, winning the faceoff 1 – 0. You really have to see it to believe it. If not for Shaq’s victory dance alone: [LISTEN]

I don’t write raps for free
If I did I wouldn’t make it, like Shaq from three

Hurt ‘Em Bad – ‘NBA Rap

jack sikma; photo:n/aLas Vegas native and lyrical nobody Hurt ‘Em Bad was the first to have released an entire song paying homage to NBA greats. For the most part he nails it, roll calling players as familiar as Dr. J and Bill Russell to someone as obscure as Caldwell Jones. The highlight of this jam is when he gives us a run down of how exactly he would take Jack Sikma of all people to the hole. Not sure how a “loopty loop” equates into it, but perhaps it was the only way to escape the old man grip of Jack Sikma – who, unfortunately for him, was known more for his goofy hair than his game: [LISTEN]

I say shoot, scoop, loopty loop
To take Jack Sikma to the hoop
I say slam, pow, to hear the sounds of the swish of the net
From the turnaround

Kurtis Blow – ‘Basketball

kurtis blow; photo:n/aThis is the archetype for basketball songs, no way to even touch this masterpiece. Yes, it’s Kurtis name dropping like no other – Adrian Dantley, Cazzie Russell and Rick Barry to name a few. But what tops this one off is the video. There are so many basketball faux pas it’s insane, a comedy of errors. Combine that with Kurtis and that wicked ass superman curl and what you have is a classic: [LISTEN]

Dantley and Wilkins are on the scene
And Ralph Sampson is really mean
Bill Russell didn’t take no junk
And Darryl Dawkins got a monster dunk