The game of basketball turns 125 years old this week. The game was invented by Canadian-born physical education professor and eventual coach Dr. James Naismith on December 21, 1891 at a YMCA in Springfield, MA (the current home of the Basketball Hall of Fame) in attempt to keep his gym class active inside the building during a rainy day and for the blistering cold winter season.
Since the days of the original peach basket, basketball has brought millions of fans across the world entertainment from the middle school, high school, collegiate, and professional ranks. Christmas Day is synonymous with basketball on TV besides unraveling wrapped gifts under the Tannenbaum. And since the dawn of Hip Hop culture in the early 1970s, rap music has been the unofficial soundtrack to the game to motivate basketball players and spectators of games alike.
From the old school through today, there has been a litany of esteemed and legendary emcees from the underground and mainstream who have released basketball-focused lyrics and songs. Whether they have referred to NBA Hall of Famers and current All-Stars, their favorite college basketball squads, or streetball legends, there have been too many to count. Here’s the HipHopDX Top 10 list for the greatest basketball rap songs of all time.
10. Shaquille O’ Neal – “(I Know I Got) Skillz” (Prod. By Def Jef & Meech Wells)
What’s up, doc? Diesel could rock.
9. Trick Daddy f. Trina & The Slip-N-Slide Express – “Take It To Da House” (Prod. Righteous Funk Boogie & Jim Johnson)
The song’s chorus commandment forever make this hardwood classic.
8. Dana Barros f. Cedric Ceballos, Sadat X, Grand Puba, and AG – “Ya Don’t Stop” (Prod. By Diamond D)
Not one but two NBAers kicking a wicked flow.
7. 3rd Bass – “Soul In The Hole” (Prod. By 3rd Bass)
“Schemin’ on a suicide or play close I slash, first step…I shook ya ass” Who said white men can’t jump?
6. J. Cole – “I Got It” (Prod. By J. Cole)
For the Dreamers.
5. 7L & Esoteric f. Sadat X – “The Handle” (Prod. By 7L)
“Reggie Lewis, Reggie Theus, Ewing in adidas/Super human leaders moving in the arenas” was magical for all b-ball history nerds.
4. B-Real, Coolio, Method Man, LL Cool J & Busta Rhymes – “Hit ‘Em High (Monstars’ Anthem)” (Prod. By Trackmasters)
Slick as the Air Jordan 11 “Space Jams.”
3. Gang Starr – “Now You’re Mine” (Prod. By DJ Premier)
Don’t reach … (for the ball or the mic).
2. Wu-Tang All Stars (Dreddy Kruger, Killa Sin, Shyheim, Timbo King, and Tekitha) – “Soul In The Hole” (Prod. Black Moes-Art)
“TIME THE FUCK OUT! ILLEGAL DEFENSE ON THE WACK MC! YOU CANT COME BACK WITH THAT, GOD!” Just a friendly game of basketball.
1. Basketball – “Kurtis Blow” (Prod. By J.B. Moore Robert Ford Jr.)
Still the peach basket of iconic basketball rap songs.