The NBA’s Required Listening: Biggie Smalls Edition

It’s been 14 long years since Big Poppa passed on. The game has changed as artists have taken the blueprint The Notorious B.I.G. laid down with Life After Death, contorted it to fit the times and the culture, and have pumped out lame single after lame single.

If Big was still alive, who knows if he would recognize this art form that he helped enhance. Surely, we would recognize him. 14 years and he still might be the greatest emcee to ever do it.

So on the anniversary of his passing, we decided to give a few NBA players some required listening they need to be checking for. You can always use some more Biggie in your life (I just realized I haven’t played anything from Christopher Wallace for damn near six months). R.I.P.

LeBron James
“You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)”

I can see ‘Bron relating to this song, laid back in the cut and just zoning out, feeling sorry for himself that all these people who used to love him now relish every mistake he makes. I can see him stressing out over whether Skip Bayless thinks he can’t take the heat or how the crowds in arenas no longer cheer him. He just needs to accept that not everyone can love you, and that creating his own personal dynasty was never going to be easy. Losing is a part of life. Once you accept that, you can overcome it.

Carmelo Anthony

For now, this can be New York’s jam. Everything is a party right now. Finally relevant, finally with the star they’ve been trying to pry out of Denver for the past six months, it really doesn’t matter how deep into the playoffs they go this year. Biggie, Biggie, Biggie can’t you see? Sometimes your words just hypnotize me/And I just love your flashy ways/I guess that’s why they broke, and you’re so paid… ‘Melo definitely has the city behind him at this point. They are happy. Content. He needs to take advantage of it while he can. By the way, wouldn’t Spike Lee make a great Diddy in this video?

Russell Westbrook
“Gimme The Loot”

Because he’s about to be paid.

Derrick Rose
“Things Done Changed”

I was going to say “Juicy” but that just didn’t feel right. Yes, Rose has finally made it. He’s finally arrived as the best point guard in the game, but settling isn’t him. He’s not sitting around thinking, I made the change from a common thief/to up close and personal with Robin Leach. Rose is grindin’ just like Chicago is. There’s no time to celebrate now. The work has just begun.

The San Antonio Spurs
“Long Kiss Goodnight”

If the Spurs just had a little more nastiness, a little more attitude, more Big instead of Babyface, maybe America would pay attention. Even now, as they’ve been the best team all year, they play one awful game and everyone wants to tear them down. Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili all need to give the industry one really long kiss goodnight. Wasn’t someone supposed to have put them to bed by now anyways? There ain’t no love here! …We just gonna keep doin’ what we do!

Gordon Hayward
“Big Booty Hoes”


Kevin Love
“Suicidal Thoughts”

In the same way that Big took a seriously disturbing image and turned it up on it’s head to create something entirely different, Love took what would’ve been a forgotten Minnesota season and gave it meaning. While I’m sure Love has had suicidal thoughts of his own this year when he looks around at some of the teammates he’s been forced to play with, he definitely doesn’t need to. “Suicidal Thoughts” is a classic. Love’s year has been one too.

Dwight Howard

Maybe Stan Van Gundy should play this song for David Stern. I can see the big guy nodding his head and jamming. Really though, it feels like Dwight Howard still doesn’t get the respect that he deserves. With so many questions circulating about LeBron’s end-game ability, is Dwight Howard now the number-one guy you want on your team for the next 10 years, especially considering he’s the albino tiger in the room? There is no chance another Dwight Howard is on his way any time soon. For now, if Howard hasn’t earned your respect by dominating every single game he’s played in this year, then I don’t know when he ever will.

Blake Griffin
“Kick In The Door”

Your reign on top was short like leprechauns as I crush so-called willies, thugs and rapper-dons… Griffin didn’t just kick in the door this year. He smashed right through it. There was nothing sly or conservative about it. The “rookie” came in to set the record straight: that no one was stopping him and that he was the nastiest beast on the block. Now, there are too many mad rappers out there to count. For an added effect, he didn’t just announce that it was now his time, he subliminally went after the crown of L.A. just as Big told a certain someone on this track that he was King of NYC.

Kobe Bryant

This just feels like a Kobe anthem. While it’s technically on Diddy’s album, we are counting it because Big makes love to the track. Play this for Bryant on the day of Game 1 of this year’s second season and watch him transform. You heard of us…the son of Satan…they say my killin’s too blatant…you hesitatin’…your fam destiny lays in my hands…excellence is my presence…real sick, brawl nights, I perform like Mike/Anyone – Tyson, Jordan, Jackson…

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