Bidding Basketball: A NBA Grammy Awards Edition

On Sunday, music’s best gathered in Los Angeles for the 55th annual GRAMMY Awards. Taking home hardware were Frank Ocean, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Drake, among many other artists. Conspicuously absent from the ceremony, however, were the smattering of NBA players who have tried their hand at music. If you’ve sampled some of the sonic styles of these players, you’re probably grateful they didn’t appear on stage; if you haven’t, do not fret: Bidding Basketball has scavenged eBay’s “infinite inventory of NBA junk” for rare, memorable and/or quirky music produced by NBA players. Time to bust out those headphones.

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Kobe Bryant “K.O.B.E.” 12″ Record Vinyl LP REC29 Rare!
Buy It Now: $40.00, plus shipping
As far as I know, only three K.O.B.E. EPs exist on the planet: Kobe Bryant has one, Dime contributor, Bryan Horowitz, has another, and then there’s the one in this auction. All others produced were systematically destroyed by Bryant and his Mamba Army to prevent anyone else from discovering his misguided hip-hop vanity project.

Back in 2000, Kobe — presumably for the same reasons as so many other athletes — had the bright idea of jumping into the rap game. He was signed by Sony/Columbia Records (by an A&R who probably is in a different line of work now), and slated to release a proper album entitled, Visions. Although Kobe’s LP never came to fruition, Sony/Columbia did drop a promotional EP, K.O.B.E., that included two tracks from Kobe Bryant, rapper: “K.O.B.E.” featuring Tyra Banks (yes, that Tyra Banks) and “Thug Poet” featuring 50 Cent, NaS and Broady Boy. You might remember the former from Bryant’s perplexing NBA Jam Session performance at the 2000 All-Star Game or as “Let Me Know (Radio Edit),” which was included on a five-track sample CD called Slam Jams packaged with Spalding basketballs.

Granted, I’m far from a music critic, but based on the two cuts from K.O.B.E., even my amateur ears can discern how bad this is. Consider the following bars from the title track:

Are you the type that brag the jewels you flash
The type-type with your ex-man and push his Jag
The type that love no scrubs or pigeons and got mad
The type that can’t stand a women with her own cash
You know, like lime, claim she ain’t rat
The type that get loud in public, refrain my hand from a slap
No time for y’all, too busy for y’all
Plenty of dimes turn me on and turn me off tryin’ to show off
Get lost, grow up, real women, roll up
Let yourself go, if you feel this, let me know

Indeed, for all of the talents Bryant has on the hardwood, he’s more like Mark Madsen in the booth.

So while bidding on K.O.B.E. might not be worthwhile from a sonic perspective, it is a rare collectible for die-hard fans of the future Hall of Famer. Just don’t be surprised if a user named, “NotKobeBryant24” outbids you for it.

Buy It Now: $12.42, plus shipping
Rony Seikaly spent 10 seasons in the paint for the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Golden State Warrors and New Jersey Nets, but since retiring from basketball in 2000, he’s fashioned a decent career as a club DJ. Spinning house, DJ Rony Seikaly has enjoyed considerable success relative to other hoops-music crossovers (For those unfamiliar with the genre, house is one of many subgenres of what has become known as “electronic dance music.” House artists like Avicii, David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia have recently achieved mainstream popularity. He has played in popular venues like LIV in Miami, Wet Republic in Las Vegas, and traveled overseas to the electronic music capital of the world, Ibizia, Spain. In 2009, BBC Radio 1 tastemaker and electronic music producer Pete Tong named him one of the most underrated DJs in the world. Seikaly also owns several clubs in Miami, and hosts his own radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Recently, the former center expanded his musical venture beyond live performances to production. He’s released several charting tracks under the imprint of popular electronic producer, Erick Morillo, such as “Fly Away” featuring vocals from Craig David (also remixed by Morillo), “The World Is Beautiful” and “M.I.L.F.”, which gained some notoriety in basketball circles owing to its title. According to his Beatport bio, Seikaly describes his production style as, “happy underground.”

“It’s music that you’re going to walk into a club and you’re not going to be saying, ‘Oh my God, we’ve got to get out of here,'” Seikaly told The New York Times. “I play that music that you walk in and say: ‘O.K., I can put up with this. I may not like it, but it’s not offensive.”

Seikaly’s “happy underground” stylings are on display in his first compilation effort on Nervous Records called Nervous Nitelife Presents Rony Seikaly (above). The 75-minute mix features original deep house and tech house tracks from Seikaly, as well as remixes of Fabo and Lazaro Casanova.

Ron ARTEST “My World” AUTOGRAPH/Auto CD New Tru Warier!
Buy It Now: $30.00, plus shipping
Like his current Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace also took his shot (and missed) at hip-hop. In 2006, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest released his debut album, My World. The 16-track album included appearances from heavyweights like Diddy, Nature, Mike Jones and Juvenile, but unfortunately, these features did little to boost sales, and according to an AOL report, Artest only sold 336 copies in his first week.

After listening to the album, it’s not hard to see why. The production is subpar, and lyrics are, well, what you might expect from a first-time rapper: disjointed, nonsensical and poorly timed. In “Haterz,” for example, World Peace spits:

I observe, and I watch, and I read people
Critique me, and they think, they know me, and it seems
To my fans, present fam, that I gonna have a harder day
I tell ’em, it’s gonna be a harder day, anyway
Yes – I’m prepared to let it air out
And if I have to stomp on some people, on the route, yes I’ll do that
In my world, no guidelines
Put the pressure on me, I’ve been here a long time

If nothing else, the content of My World offers some insight into the paradoxical mind of World Peace, which might be of import to some basketball fans. There are references to David Stern, his public perception, partying with attractive women, strippers, admitting to “hitting the liquor store at halftime,” pimps and hoes, expensive cars, his season-long suspension, and mental health.

If you can stomach the elementary rhymes and shoddy beats, it’s actually an interesting listen. The key here being if.

Who is the best musical artist/rapper in the NBA?

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