Editorial – Remember that time Drake and former Everyday Struggle co-host Wayno got into a quick Instagram beef spat following Drizzy’s in-home Sanctuary Basketball League championship win?
Now, The Crew League basketball tournament will live stream that same level of amateur rapper hoops competition and trash talk with the added merit of a $100,000 cash prize. The two-day bracket-style tourney, broadcasting exclusively on TikTok, kicks-off in Los Angeles Saturday (November 7).
Among the competitors are rappers G Herbo, Jack Harlow, Lil Durk, Lil Keed, Lil Mosey, Russ, Trippie Redd and The Kid Laroi, who all seem to think their squad will resemble the NBA Championship-winning Lakers team.
DDG already claimed this will be ‘The easiest 100k I ever made” via The Crew League Instagram Tuesday (October 27), while Harlow called out all competitors by pinpointing Durk as the main threat and grouping his peers together as a sorry bunch of try-hards.
“I’ve seen footage of all these fuckers hooping and Durk is the only one that looks worrisome,” he said. “And he’s on the other side of the bracket so we can worry about that when it’s time.”
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In anticipation of these celebrity pick-up basketball games on steroids, HipHopDX constructed a scouting report. This isn’t a typical ESPN statistical report though, mostly because we’re factoring in elements like the strength of the artist’s lyrical hoops references and social media highlight mixtapes rather than actual field goal percentages. Nevertheless, peep the talent match-ups side-by-side and get a better idea of each ballers strengths and weaknesses in the list below.
Strength: 3-Point shooting
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The “Moonwalking In Calabasas” rapper has shared a number of his impressive gym clips on IG and recently enlisted NBA shooting coach Lethalshooter to help him hone his craft following an $80,000 wager. He clearly has a great sense of touch, however, his dribbling skills seem underdeveloped and that could be a problem once defenders begin to pressure and contest his shot.
And by the looks of his videos, he’s overconfident and constantly playing a fast game trying to blow-by you. He seems like the type of player at the open gym who pops his shit until he gets locked-up by a tough defender and then proceeds to pick a fight.
Strength: In-transition offense/Facilitation
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 14, 2019
Swervo actually has a highlight reel floating around the internet thanks to his performance during the Ballislife 2019 SWISH game in Chicago. One key takeaway from the tape is certainly Herbo’s grit on the court.
He clearly grew up playing outdoor playground ball in Chiraq and it shows when he aggressively drives into the paint no matter who the defender is in the clip above. He definitely needs to run some suicides or cut-back on the backwoods because he’s also visibly winded throughout this footage. Nolimitherbo needs to be no limit with his stamina.
Strengths: All-around game/Pure shooting guard
Weakness: Supporting cast
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Lil Durk proudly wears his hoops pedigree on his sleeve (evidenced from his ‘I’ll bust his ass’ tweet towards the same J. Cole the Detroit Pistons invited for tryouts earlier this year). Several videos of Durkioo flexing his skills have gone viral over the years, including one video in 2019 that had Laker’s player Kyle Kuzma admiring his shooting form.
“Bro you easily got the best shooting form in the rap game, he replied via Twitter. “lol I see you bruhhh,”
The only thing that could be the downfall of a player like Durk is simply not having enough help. It’s clear he has the shooter’s touch and can go get a bucket, but he needs a solid second and third option to succeed in this four-on-four format. It also looks like he specializes in the mid-range and three-point shooting, so he’s going to need a solid cutter and a big man who can rebound.
Strengths: Spot-up shooting/Running floater shot
Swae Lee was money from 3 point range ⛹🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/jCO29upvbs
— Rap All-Stars 🏆 (@RapAllStars) October 10, 2020
Earlier this month, Swae’s unique jump shot was captured while he was hooping at Kobe Bryant’s famed Mamba Sports Academy in California. The “Dance Like No One’s Watching” rapper plays with an unconventional style that clearly works for him. His wild jumper looks like a tough guard defender’s trying to figure out the timing to contest it.
He plays with the type of rogue, energized offense players like Russell Westbrook. In fact, his game is nothing like his music. It’s like he trades the soothing and smooth ambient melodies he’s lent to tracks like Internet Money’s “Thrusting” for an exasperated and unruly effort. As a result, an early prediction is his biggest weakness will be understanding the game. A guy like Swae knows how to get a shot off, not how to set up an offense or read a defense.
Strengths: Basketball IQ
Harlow is a known Lousiville basketball fan, but he recently teamed up with Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro in a video for his new single. One weakness drawn from the track was his broke jump shot, as he raps, “My homebody he play in South Beach/He told me this summer he gon’ fix my jumper/I told Boi-1da I think we got a thumper/I been tryna pop, now I’m on like Iman Shumpert.” Even though he hits the shot in the clip above, we’re not convinced just yet.
One of the main reasons for our skepticism is there’s nothing that’s particularly menacing about Harlow, physically. Mentally, however, he has both a baller’s mindset and high basketball IQ on multiple occasions on and off the court. Earlier this year, he dropped racks to outfit his team with custom Private Garden-emblazoned championship rings.
On the other hand, the Kentucky-bred rapper’s flow has also led us to believe he could be really nice based on the level of his references. In his multi-platinum single “Whats Poppin” he seemingly equates his passing with NBA Hall of Famer and 9x-assist champ John Stokton in the opening line rapping, “What’s Poppin/Brand new whip just hopped in/I got options/I could pass that bitch like Stockton.”
Watch the official trailer for The Crew League below and visit the official Instagram for detailed match-up information here.