At this point, there’s no question on who the best rapping NBA player is because Damian Lillard holds that title. But, the Blazers guard is really making a case to cement himself as the all-time best to do it in both the booth and hardwood.
The Portland Trail Blazers guard stopped by SiriusXM’s Shade 45 show Sway in the Morning recently to chop it up about hoops and hip-hop. Many will remember back in 2015 when Lillard first appeared on the show and killed a freestyle, prompting the legendary host Sway to proclaim the Oakland native as a MC force to be reckoned with. A lot has happened since then for Dame musically. Aside from the current season, he spent a lot of time entertaining music fans with “Four Bar Friday” campaign on Instagram and released a new album titled The Letter O, which garnered a pretty good reception.
On Monday, he returned to the scene of the initial crime to kill it again with a freestyle on The Luniz’s classic beat for “I Got 5 on It.” What makes the clip even more entertaining is actor Gary Busey pops into the room right before Lillard kicks things off and ends up being blown away. “Listen, I heard you and I felt you in my heart,” Busey says. “I heard you in my soul, and you’re a beautiful man with a great talent in many areas. And God bless you for being a motivation and an inspiration to the younger kids, the middle kids, the older kids, and the older folks like me.”
While the actor became a fan quickly, Lillard is aware there are critics out there who harp on the fact he’s pursuing a music career. Still, he’s not letting it deter him. Instead, he’s working just as hard on the court as he does when he’s spending time away in the studio. Lillard said the criticism got especially loud last summer, which drove him more than many may have realized. “‘You need to work on your game,'” Lillard says in regards to what critics were saying, “‘Your whole team left.’ And kind of coming down on me. Then I came out and had my best season.”
“So then this past summer they was trying to say the same thing,” he continues. “I knew I was getting my time in, I knew that I was working. It’s always first things first. I know my priorities are always in order so I knew that I’d be able to come out and perform. But I think it’s also important to have that balance.”
Clearly, Lillard’s got that balance and then some. And, he’s delving deeper into music by announcing he’s started his own label, Front Page Music. Guess that means naysayers will have more to talk about, which will ultimately boost Dame’s play on the court again.