We see it before every game: Athletes walking into the stadium, dressed to slay and their ears devoured by giant, catcher’s mitt-sized headphones.
What are they listening to? You know good and well they’re not bumping that pre-canned, pseudo-inspirational Aloe Blacc garbage. What artists do athletes actually jam inside those earmuffs?
Lisa Robinson of Vanity Fair attempted to answer that question with a recent article profiling NBA stars and their preferred musical tastes. Some of her findings were expected, but several players offered up some brow-raisers this author never saw coming.
For example, did you know that Kevin Garnett rocks out to Lorde? Yep, it’s true—the “Big Ticket” grooves to pop music written by a 17-year-old singer from New Zealand before games. It’s his very own moment of Zen.
“I listen to Lorde, Drake, Kanye West, Portishead, Zero 7, Colbie Caillat—it depends on my mood,” Garnett said. “I always listen to music before a game...it’s like yoga or meditation—it calms me and puts me in a better place.”
Robinson also spoke to LeBron James about what pumps through his headphones. James said he likes to listen to contemporaries like Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars while relaxing, but turns up the old-school nastiness when game time nears.
“Before a game, I’ll listen to pretty much the same thing, but with more throwback hip-hop: Biggie, Tupac, Rakim, Nas, N.W.A., DMX,” James said. “But if I could name one artist to get me charged up to play, it would be Jay Z.”
Russell Westbrook was also interviewed. What’s he rocking to these days?
“I listen to a lot of pop and R&B. I like Katy Perry, Charles Brown, Drake and Beyonce,” Westbrook said.
So that’s how it’s going to be, Russell? After all this, you’re going to leave Taylor Swift high and dry?
In all, it’s a candid look into the music library of some of the NBA’s greatest talents. Perhaps at some point down the road, Robinson will grace us with a follow-up article on former NBA players and their musical tastes.
The world needs a look into Brian Scalabrine’s iPod and the staggering amounts of Big Punisher and Right Said Fred surely lurking within.
The Brooklyn Nets: Definitely not royals.