Hip/hop and professional sports, in particular the NBA, are more similar than you might think. Both fields are competitive, breathtaking, and allow for great debates. Rappers are often seen interacting with world class athletes, such as Lil Wayne hanging out with Cristiano Ronaldo, 50 Cent breaking bread with Floyd “Money” Mayweather, or Drake air balling shots with University of Kentucky basketball team. Either way, sports and hip/hop have emerged as one, and it’s not shocking that ESPN is continuing to incorporate hip/hop artists and their songs to expand its audience.
Drake officially became the Global Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors in 2013. On November 16 the Raptors held their annual Drake night hosting the Western Conference Champion Golden State Warriors. Despite the Toronto native and self-proclaimed “6 God” (the numeral refers to the city’s area code) being known as the NBA’s most enthusiastic bandwagon fan he played antagonist, taunting Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and more of the GSW.
It didn’t seem like a coincidence when Drake bumped into KD during a post-game interview judging by the scowl he shot at Drake shading him into the stratosphere.
Two major polarizing figures in their respective professions showing some playful disrespect to one another is prime entertainment. You have got to love it.
ESPN is recognized as the “worldwide leader in sports” due to its innovative methods on how the fans perceive the images and hear the sounds of the game, regardless of what that game may be.
Hip/hop is about dance, art and expression. The characteristics that hip/hop embodies has broken through its humble roots and continued its influence on magazine publishing, television, sexuality and social issues showing that it has grown into the sport world’s favorite genre.
What was once a world counterculture, is now shaping to be the soundtrack to a lot of marketing and advertising projects for businesses around the world.
ESPN is keying in on the trend by becoming a major sports brand bringing this to the forefront, prospering off the relationship these two worlds have shared for decades now.
In one of Drakes songs titled “Thank Me Now” he tries to explain why so many NBA players (Allen Iverson, Chris Webber, and Shaquille O’Neal) have all put out rap songs. while several emcees- The Game, Master P, Cam’ron etc. aspired to be ballers.
He raps, “Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous / ’cause we wanna be them and they wanna be us.”
At any rate, whether sportscasting a live show or promoting an activity on twitter, getting the audience involved and excited is pivotal. When ESPN’s SportsCenter anchors break trending news with clever hip/hop references or begin their show with popular hip/hop instrumentals it’s always responsive to the audience.
The genre is truly in a new golden era, penetrating even more artistic, social and political hemispheres than before.