You often hear people saying that music is like art in motion and there’s no motion in the world like the NBA. Guys sprinting up and down the court, hustling like there’s no tomorrow would be so much cooler with a soundtrack, and arenas often try to give them one.
You know, that annoying elevator, ball park-like music that makes you feel like you’re in Yankee Stadium after a home run? What about a song to describe each superstar’s season? You know, a soundtrack that could describe the highly efficient season of LeBron James?
Maybe even to describe skeptical nature of Kobe Bryant’s epic season leading the Los Angeles Lakers. Music could even give a more entertaining perception of Derrick Rose’s struggle to a valuable MVP season encore.
Whatever the journey, music gives a compacted and rhythmic look at how each of the NBA’s 30 teams have pushed through the 2011-12 season, whether it is good or bad.
You like the finish line. We can't wait to run into you.
Does anything more need to be said?
We used to be respected, now they laughing. We've turned into possessions with no passion. How we go from the best to less than average? We used to be connected, who detached us? But no collective identity, it's every man for himself.
- Nipsey Hussle
The Philadelphia 76ers started off this season looking much better than they did when the Miami Heat knocked them out of the first round of the playoffs. Thank goodness for their stellar start, because lately they have been dropping the ball more than any team should in the second half of the season.
Philly has seemingly started to rely more on their offense than their defense, which is a huge mistake seeing as how their defense is admirable and their offense is streaky.
The Sixers are not truly that talent efficient so they have to take extra steps to be careful of turnovers, bad shot selection and poor defense when it comes to teams like the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls and any other great franchise in the league.
They have not been doing that, and going into the playoffs with a bad headspace is not going to do the best for their morale.
Went away for a little, let my wisdom increase
The Houston Rockets are a team to watch out for as the season winds down. The general consensus is that the Rockets will not make it into the playoffs. They have the seven seed in the Western Conference right now, and it could easily be taken away from them with the drop of a few games.
Houston is not going to let that happen. When Kyle Lowry went out and Goran Dragic came in, Dragic played very well in his absence. He played so well that it could lead to Lowry’s newly round reserve role. Still, the improvement of Lowry this season is what has landed the Rockets in playoff contention.
The Rockets may have taken a step up in age when they signed Marcus Camby, but they loaded on a ton of basketball IQ with the big man. Houston is not the flashiest team in the league, and they make up for it with intelligence and solid game play. Fundamentals trump explosiveness when it comes to the Rockets.
Take your time, it'll come. Just stay focused and humble my son. Show and prove, prove you're the one. It's not about who's dope, it's who wants it the most.
- Kendrick Lamar
The Indiana Pacers don’t have stars. Danny Granger is not a star. Darren Collison is not a star. Neither is George Hill. Neither is Tyler Hansbrough. However, their grind is what has them in a top five seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs so far.
The Pacers love the position they’re in as last year the team barely made it in with the eight seed. Even then, their hustle pushed the series to five games when everyone expected that the almighty Derrick Rose would push them out in a series sweep, kind of like what the Mavericks did to the Lakers.
Mr. Underdog, They Don't Hear My Bark, Want The Title But I'm Always Fighting Under Card, Mr. Underrated, Tryna Make It, Yeah I'm Tryna Tell 'Em
The Memphis Grizzlies are the “Giant Killers.” Why, you ask?
In the month of April, the Grizzlies have knocked off the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Miami Heat, the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers. Memphis may have gotten off to a rough start this season, but they are coming together when it truly counts.
Whoever has to face them in the playoffs is going to be in for a rude awakening because as last year’s postseason proved, they are not a franchise to look past and they are more than willing to push a series to seven games. Stay tuned. The Grizzlies are far from done.
Nobody really understands my language. I find it complicated just to hold a conversation. But still I got a whole lot of patience.
The Atlanta Hawks are one of the most misunderstood teams in the league. They have a bunch of talent and occasionally cohesive game play, yet they sit in the middle of the Eastern Conference with really no hopes of making it out of the East to compete for the NBA championship.
From the outside looking in, they don’t have the heart to compete against the East’s best, nor do they have the leadership to compete against top-tier defenses on a consistent basis. Joe Johnson often looks tuned out. Josh Smith is constantly on the trade block, media-wise at least.
Al Horford has been injured earlier on in the season and has not played a game since. The Hawks have still managed to keep a playoff seed, but they are still a vexing franchise to watch. How they get it done, who knows? Somehow they just make it work until it’s time to go deep in the playoffs.
The buck stops there.
World keeps spinning as the drama unfolds. I’ll be in the front row when it all implodes.
- Joe Budden
Things can’t really get any worse for the New Orleans Hornets. They have an injured Eric Gordon, who they should just keep on the bench. His return would have 100 percent no effect on the remainder of New Orleans’ 2011-12 season. A great thing serving in the Hornets’ favor, however, is that:
- Eric Gordon loves New Orleans, so it is likely that he will stay to see what the future holds for the franchise.
- The owner of the New Orleans Saints is reportedly going to buy the Hornets’ franchise. No more David Stern influence.
Things will not get much better for the Hornets this season, but at the bottom, there is nowhere the franchise can go but up from here.
Bad boys ain't no good, good boys ain't no fun
- Mary J. Blige
Each player, as talented as they are individually, cannot seem to come together long enough to function as a unit.
Each member sets out to prove something about themselves instead of creating a better reputation for the franchise. It could have something to do with how young they are, however, the Kings are becoming more and more rogue in play as the season twirls on.
Maybe it isn’t the Kings’ organization as a whole that seems this way. Maybe the team’s headliner, DeMarcus Cousins, sets this type of tone for the public to criticize.
Cousins, the resident bad boy of the organization, who is known for reportedly swinging on his own teammate, is who the franchise is building for. Not Tyreke Evans or Marcus Thornton, but Cousins.
With the mound of potential that he has, this is entirely fair. However, Cousins is going to have to tone down the bad-boy image and bring this squad together.
And it’s so haaaaaaarrrrrdddd…
- Donnell Jones
The Phoenix Suns can’t catch a true break. They have one of the premier guards in the league, no matter how old, and he has yet to bring them a championship.
They had the option to trade him before he could bolt in this summer’s free agency, but just as the Orlando Magic are dealing with a star that could cripple the franchise, so are the Suns.
Losing Nash could leave them spiraling in obscurity for longer than they are willing to bear. Phoenix may not always be in the mouths of analysts and critics, because they are not that relevant, but having Nash gives them a certain edge and a level of curiosity. Without him, they don’t have too much more.
Which way is right, which way is wrong, How do I say that I need to move on, You know we're headed separate ways
- Alex Clare
Deron Williams walked away from the Utah Jazz soon after Jerry Sloan resigned as the franchise’s head coach. Now, all the Jazz do is get by. They have a decent future in players like Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, if they were giving them enough combo time.
However, with Al Jefferson getting minutes, which he’s earned, Jazz is left in a bind. Do they keep the faith in Jefferson and just continue to attempt to surround him with better-than-average players or do they give up on him and ship him around the league as Zach Randolph was?
Jefferson is a great option for the Jazz to have, and the only problem is that he really has not been able to succeed because of ill moves by the Jazz's front office in the men they have surrounded him with.
His story with another franchise may skyrocket and people may truly understand how talented of a big man he is, but for now he will remain neglected.
Any problems dog know I got 'em. And still we grind from the bottom
- Freeway, Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z
The Portland Trail Blazers were in trouble once Raymond Felton stepped on the court flashing their jersey. Felton is an overrated, out of shape, soon to be free agent that Portland allowed to drive out a great coach in Nate McMillan.
That alone is reason for the why the Trail Blazers are a victim of their decisions.
However, you have to give it to them. Portland grinds beyond their means, especially LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been underrated in the league for longer than he should have been.
This franchise has been the highlight of the “struggle face” since they released Brandon Roy, kept Greg Oden way past due and made a bunch of stupid preseason moves that have led to their demise.
I heard he sang a good song. I heard he had a style. And so I came to see him and listen for a while.
- The Fugees
Kevin Love is alluring to say the least. The Minnesota Timberwolves are not the most attractive squad to watch, but when Love and Ricky Rubio were running the show, their ratings climbed and for good reason.
Both of these young men headline the future of the league and Love, before injury, consistently climbs in the rankings of his position. It’s time to realize that the kid is not a fluke. He’s kind of the real deal.
What’s so sad about the Timberwolves, however, is that they may never exhaust their potential with Love as the starting forward. It’s not too long before offers begin to pour in and Love discovers that Minnesota is not the only place he can be a star.
There are other options for him, and if the Timberwolves do not start doing some five-star recruiting, they’ll lose him.
I met this girl, when I was 10 years old. And what I loved most, she had so much soul.
She was old school, when I was just a shorty
The San Antonio Spurs are like that old-school cartoon that you loved to watch so much. It didn’t have the dopest drawings or the most vibrant colors, but it succeeded in making you laugh and tuning back in the next day at the same time.
The Spurs play old school basketball and not in the "Jordan, all or nothing, me, myself and I" type of way.
San Antonio plays solid basketball and while athleticism is what rules the airwaves, it allows the Spurs to cascade under the radar all the way into maybe the best record in the league.
San Antonio is not trying to change their pace or keep up with the Joneses or the Jameses of the NBA.
Coach Popovich handles his team like he always has, and nothing is going to change that.
I feel the pressure, under more scrutiny, and what I do? Act more stupidly…. Excuse me, is you saying something. Uh-uh, you can’t tell me nothing.
- Kanye West
The Washington Wizards have been that “lack of discipline” franchise for a while now. Even dating back to their Gilbert Arenas glory days, the Wizards have lacked the maturity, despite veteran age, to accomplish more than a little bit on the court.
They are always the underdogs and will be that way until they get the mentality that they know best out of their heads.
Reading reports of how cancerous the Washington locker room was during Arenas’ stay was enough to make anyone nod their heads in understanding.
Oh, that’s why they have no court leadership. The franchise is so busy making fools out of themselves and chasing glamour that they fail to realize it is killing the fundamentals that could land them in the playoffs.
The aura of entitlement is ridiculous in DC, and so far nothing has cured their ‘Ye–like attitude.
I think she loves me. She loves me. Then she loves me not.
- J. Cole
Deron Williams loves being a part of the scene when he’s loading the box score or the Nets have pulled out a tough win. That would matter if it happened more than occasionally.
Williams does not want to be with the Nets any more than Howard is truly sticking around with Orlando after the 2012 season. Enough said.
Lord have mercy on me for all the things I've done. I've lost my mind, my eyes were blinded by the sun. Don't forsake me Lord I'm not the only one. I've lost my mind, my eyes were blinded by the sun
- Travie McCoy
The New York Knicks’ front office was blinded by shining lights. The New York high life took over the fundamental thinking component of their brains and forced them towards a flashier aspect of the game.
Carmelo Anthony looked like the perfect piece to their road to redemption.
Correction: Carmelo Anthony looked like the sexiest girl in the bunch.
The problem with that being, that the cutest girl is not always the one with the personality that will cohesive in a relationship and that is what the Knicks are learning, quickly and surely.
Anthony beside Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire is not the formula that will lead the Knicks to the NBA Finals past the Miami Heat or the Chicago Bulls.
However, New York is excelling with both Lin and Stoudemire on the bench while their letting Carmelo handle his business. With his confidence back, the team is soaring at new heights but like I said. That’s without Stoudemire or Lin. Someone has to go.
Gotta handful of stacks, better grab an umbrella. I make it rain, I make it rain I make it rain on them
- Lil Wayne
Not a single member of the Golden State Warriors was selected for the All-Star 3-Point Shooting contest. Not a single member.
Even though there are three-point clinic all-stars all over the Warriors’ roster, as pointed out by Coach Mark Jackson, not a single player was selected. Any coach in their right mind would have spoken up about such an injustice as well.
For as long as can be remembered, the Warriors have been an high-powered, three-point shooting team. They live by the three and die by the three.
With a mantra like that, it is inevitable that there will be bad shooting days, but what kills their wins is normally their defense and their efforts topping the other team’s offense.
Now, after trading Monta Ellis, they have lost some of that scoring edge they had and Stephen Curry, injury-riddled and all, is left for the franchise to build around.
If you ever leave me, baby, Leave some morphine at my door, 'Cause it would take a whole lot of medication, To realize what we used to have, We don't have it anymore.
- Bruno Mars
Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard should be moved. He won’t be moved. He can’t be moved. He must be moved. There are so many avenues to travel down when exploring the trade rumors in his name it has become a whirlpool of confusion.
If you ask Coach Stan Van Gundy how he feels about all of this, he may bite your head while relaying that he will cross that bridge when he and his men, with or without Dwight Howard, get there. It probably makes it that much harder that while trying to hop out of Shaquille O’Neal’s shadow, he may very well be treading his footsteps.
It also seems to create a slight snag in his exit that when he leaves the organization, they will be left without a paddle floating up….well, you know the rest.
Orlando readily embraces Howard and loves the personality, swagger and stamina he brings to their home court.
Losing him would definitely sting the fans, and he has seen how emotionally-involved supporters can become when they feel as if they have lost one of their own.
This season has been all about keeping Howard in a good light in spite of all the drama he has brought upon the organization. Orlando will go as far as calling their own head coach a liar to negate claims that Howard was behaving like a diva.
Ride or die, girl we gon’ be good. And if you ride or die, we gon’ make it out this hoooooood.
- Trey Songz
Detroit Pistons’ fans are consistently subjected to a beating when supporting their hometown basketball franchise. It is amazing how loyal some fans can be, but it is demeaning and disheartening that the Pistons’ team seems to feed off it with no avail.
It has to be soothing to the soul that there are some Detroit hopefuls think Joe Dumars can do no wrong, but it is also crippling his ability to change the direction that the Pistons are headed.
For the last several seasons, fans have been asked to hang in there. Don’t worry, we shall be back! We will barrel through the hard times and return to glory!
All of those promises are great, but flourishing would do so much more for supporters’ morale.
Instead, the Pistons’ fans consistently hear about the potential the franchise continues to bring in and are treated to mediocre defense and loyalty to players who have become less productive in Coach Lawrence Frank’s system.
It is time to rebuild and without embracing the changes that must occur, the Detroit Pistons and their fans will forever be a project with dreams of acceptance.
I've been lonely, I've been waiting for you, I'm pretending, and that's all I can do
- Lil Wayne
The Denver Nuggets fell off of the radar as soon as Carmelo Anthony sort of, kind of demanded a trade from under George Karl’s coaching style.
They were counted out because not only were they missing a huge scorer, but they were losing Chauncey Billups in the process, a veteran guard with the prowess for that huge moment. The Nuggets did not, and still do not, have a superstar, a star, or even a specified leader to look towards when the clock is winding down.
With the trade of Nene Hilario to the Washington Wizards that brought along JaVale McGee, Coach George Karl overrates his team. Denver won’t make any true strides this season, as the Western Conference is far too stacked for them to contend.
The Nuggets are on the backburner of the league as one of those mediocre squads who do just enough. Denver is still waiting on that superstar to come and save them since Anthony left.
Said I'll return but I gotta fight the fate's arrived. Don't shed a tear, cause Mama I ain't happy here. I'm through trial, no more smiles, for a couple years
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans seem to be the only people in the world over “The Decision” and how LeBron James left their franchise in shambles.
With the rumbling that James could return plaguing Kyrie Irving’s great fortune in Cleveland, the primary chatter seems to circulate around that possibility instead of what Cleveland has stationed in front of them.
Irving is the best rookie in the NBA right now, beating out Miami’s Norris Cole, Detroit’s Brandon Knight and Charlotte’s Kemba Walker. The Cavaliers do not have long before they will return to the playoff scene, but they do need at least another season before fans should expect them to.
Hopefully, they will not face such disappointment in the event of their re-entrance as they did when James was leading them throughout the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The expectations are much lower and the ride may prove to be less bumpy.
It is the least that Cleveland fans can hope for.
This is my last chance. Last chance. This my last chance. I’m ready to shoot. Only one chance. One bullet in the gun.
- Nicki Minaj
The Boston Celtics’ Big 3 will very soon be no more.
Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are looking at a time in the league where their dominant force will falter over and over again. The Eastern Conference is consistently being stacked with younger, better players, and the Boston Celtics just are not the men they used to be.
Not only is the old game plan not working anymore, but the franchise and their leaders are refusing to accept it. The new-age Celtics are well overdue, but there is a stark brick wall halting progress.
The constant lack of belief that Rajon Rondo has become the cornerstone of the Boston Celtics franchise is that brick wall. After moving Kevin Garnett to the center position, the Celtics are geared towards the postseason and have looked like contenders since the All-Star break.
This might just be their last chance.
Keep ya head up, oooo child things are gonna get easier, ooooo child things are gonna get brighter
The Charlotte Bobcats are not going to make it to the playoffs this year despite the addition of Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo. Michael Jordan has once again disappointed the fans of North Carolina with a compilation that just does not work in Charlotte.
Walker was a great option in the 2011 NBA Draft, because face it. He was one of the most polarizing figures in college basketball, especially during the Big East Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. The UConn Huskies went on an illustrious run that not even Coach Jim Calhoun seemed to think his players were capable of.
But, this is not college basketball and Walker cannot do it by himself. The good news is that there is always time to build. The league is not closing its doors to the horrible franchises incorporated just yet and the Bobcats can redeem themselves in the next few seasons.
Building behind Kemba, there is a bright future for the organization. With better decisions and better recruiting, Jordan could actually have a winner on his hands. That is if he has not permanently screwed his relationship with players after those nasty CBA negotiations.
It’s hard knock life for us, it’s a hard knock life for us. Instead of treated, we get tricked. Instead of kisses, we get kicked!
The Toronto Raptors are righteously overlooked.
They mean nothing much to the league at this point in their development and if the NBA were looking into contractions as LeBron James suggested previously, the Raptors would be the first option. Without Chris Bosh, they have ultimately lost their headliner.
DeMar DeRozan seemed to be stepping to the front line as the man in charge in Toronto, but with barely any success. This is an evaluation period for the Raptors that ownership needs to take ample advantage of.
With the rotation being rippled during Andrea Bargnani’s absence due to injury, there can be a proper determination of who stays and who goes. The thought is that there may need to be a complete overhaul of parts, some front-office members included.
In any event, it may be a while before the Raptors get any shred of respect. They have yet to earn it.
Did you realize that you are a champion in their eyes?
- Kanye West
Unfortunately for the Dallas Mavericks at the beginning of the season, no one forgot how they ended the NBA playoffs last season—as champions.
Mark Cuban stood by the Finals MVP, Dirk Nowtizki, raising a trophy he had waited eons to claim. He was finally in the elite club of owners that can claim the rights to an NBA title, and he enjoyed it.
But, by allowing Tyson Chandler’s exit while bringing in players like Lamar Odom and Delonte West, Cuban made it clear he was not specifically aiming for another title shot this postseason. He was setting up for success in the long run, and a repeat just is not the first thing on his mind.
The Mavericks looked fat and slow.
They were pummeled by the Miami Heat in what was supposed to be a fiery Christmas Day rematch and they did not prove anything in the games that trailed, either.
Sooner than later, they caught on to the fact that there was not a preseason in this season’s itinerary and got back on track still missing key performances from role players like Odom. Dallas looks geared to hit the Western Conference Playoffs, but not to make a deep run.
They could surprise us all. But, they probably will not.
We fly high, no lie, you know this (Balling!) Foreign rides, outside, it's like showbiz
- Jim Jones
The Clippers are the definition of Hollywood. Even with Chris Paul on the squad as one of the most fundamentally sound basketball players in the league, the franchise is still extremely flashy.
The nickname “Lob City” only propels even further past the Miami Heat, who were called Hollywood by the low-post Chicago dominator, Joakim Noah, last season. The Clippers have adequately stepped to the forefront as one of the more entertaining teams to watch.
Rarely anything they do is by the book, as barely anything in the league is anymore.
However, the Clippers have a certain air of randomness that makes every striking play they showcase that much more extravagant. Still, the Clippers strike me as a team that thinks they have everything figured out.
They know how high in preseason power rankings they were after the acquisition of Chris Paul, Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups.
Yet, just like the "Sexy and I Know It" video, all I can picture is bunch of men running around in small speedos, mistakenly thinking they have sexy bodies. The Clippers mistakenly feel they are in true Finals' contention.
I’m ballin on these dudes like I’m Derrick Rose. They ain’t talkin’ money I don’t hear em though.
- Meek Mill
As you have most likely heard, Derrick Rose joined basketball royalty earlier this year, at least financially.
After signing a $200 million deal with Adidas, the only shoe deal larger than the present-day Chicago hero is the former Bulls’ hero, Michael Jordan’s, deal with Nike.
Rose is in pretty good company now that his bank account has scraped the clouds, but more importantly, his game play has led his team to a pretty good first half start of the season.
After being out several games due to injury, Rose looked primed for a monstrous comeback during the All-Star break and should have been in rare form as Chicago makes a break for the Eastern Conference Finals.
Rose is a great athlete, but an even better basketball player and a phenomenal teammate.
What about when he isn’t at his best, though? With the playoffs right around the corner, Rose has some demons that must be exorcised in order for him to be all he can be for his squad.
Coach Tom Thibodeau knows it can’t be done without him, but the more Chicago’s look is better with him on the bench, the more doomed the franchise is.
You say I'm old news, well who the new star? Cause if I'm going anywhere, it's probably too far
Kobe Bryant was supposedly old news at the start of the 2011 season. The Miami Heat was officially running things and was well-geared to take over the entire league by going undefeated.
A 66-win record would not have meant as much because somehow fans of any team but South Beach would have killed the importance of it.
However, Bryant was out of the conversation as far as an NBA championship was concerned. There was no way he could hold up under the pressures of divorce and soured joints to lead his team to the NBA playoffs, much less the NBA Finals past teams like the OKC Thunder or the LA Clippers.
Hell, Kobe was not even the most important player in LA anymore.
Tell that to his 30- and 40-point games. Tell that to the Lakers who are solidly treading water on the way to the playoffs with Bryant as their front man—again.
The Lakers can never be counted out because of one of their eldest elements, who has grown to be their greatest asset and not their broadest liability, as fans were beginning to think before the season started.
Tonight, We are young, So let’s set the world on fire, We can burn brighter than the sun..
- Fun. feat. Janelle Monae
The OKC Thunder are the most explosive young team in the NBA at the moment, and they rightfully deserve that title.
They are playing at such a high pace every night and are well on their way to the Western Conference Finals, where they were halted in the 2011 playoffs. The widest criticism of the franchise is that they are young, immature and without structure.
Their lack of veteran leadership on the squad seems to be doing wonders for their record because with only Kendrick Perkins to tout age and tenure over the young duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, the Thunder are sitting atop the Western Conference.
No one seems to be playing at the level they are and this is mainly because of the fact that their youth allows them to be more physically capable of dealing with such a harsh back-to-back schedule.
This was expected coming into the season, but OKC is dominating in such a manner, it seems as if they cannot be stopped.
Let 'em talk, let 'em talk, let 'em talk, let 'em talk, Like we don’t hear what they saying, Let 'em walk, let 'em walk, let 'em walk, let 'em walk, We’ll just drive by and keep waving
- Gym Class Heroes feat. Neon Hitch
LeBron James has openly admitted that the criticism he received from former supporters and the media after “The Decision” negatively affected him. The world already knew that.
The proof was in the pudding, everyone just seemed to be waiting for him to be truthful with himself about it.
Now, that the cat is out of the bag, we all can move on, right? NO!
But, it seems as if the Miami Heat, as a whole, has finally realized that the consistent badgering will never stop. No matter how many championships they win, Miami will never be as good as they predicted, because the public does not want to admit that they were wrong.
Who does? If it can be avoided by all costs, then it will be. Expect the banter pro-everything-not-LeBron to continue regardless of his individual or Miami’s collective accomplishments.
Their success, however, shows that they just do not care anymore. They are living for themselves, and their beliefs in their abilities on the court have trumped anyone’s perception of what they can or cannot do.
As the playoffs approach, James and the Heat gang are looking restless. There’s no need to panic as the primary reason for the Heat dropping the ball is due to their eagerness for the playoffs. Is it the smartest? Probably not.
That’s just how Miami is. Living how they feel and they don’t care what we think anymore. Their fans love them, and they can't wait for that home-court advantage to get them back home.