Athletes in all sports listen to music to spike their energy levels, increase their adrenaline, and get their mind ready for fierce competition.
However, how many athletes can claim they have a song that actually references themselves in it? Here’s the breakdown of 10 songs that include athlete’s names, and the creative lyrics surrounding these great performers.
Chris Paul, point guard for New Orleans Hornets
“Gotta Chris Paul mind state, I'm never outta bounds”
"My Life" The Game feat. Lil Wayne
Chris Paul has to love this song; despite its slow beat, it is catchy and easy to fall into the rhythm of Lil’ Wayne and The Game’s rapping. The lyrics are just a small tribute to the guard’s amazing ability to control the ball and a nod to his consistent superstar performance on the court.
Steve Nash, point guard for Phoenix Suns
“Hey is that the truth or are you talking trash
Is your game M.V.P. like Steve Nash”
"Promiscuous" Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland
Another commendable point guard in the NBA, Steve Nash once again reached great heights of popularity in pop culture with the summer smash hit in 2006. Nash, one of the league’s most prominent figures, won the league’s MVP award in both the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 season.
76er basketball players; Rocky Balboa
“If we got good grades, straight up A's
Our parents would take us to to a 76ers game
I got my game and there ain't no shame
Big shots for Mo Cheeks
And Moses Malone
Julius Erving called Philly his home
Bobby Jones, Daryl Dawkins
Andrew Tony sinking threes
Rocky Balboa comes from south Philly
So if you want to make it
On time to the show”
Also: “Get along 76ers
Charles Barkley dissed Larry Bird”
"I-76" G. Love & Special Sauce
This 1997 ditto pays homage to the artists’ home town of Philadelphia. Besides referring to the road I-76, G. Love and Special Sauce rap out an extensive list of the 76ers roster from the 80’s. The trio also slips in a remark about Larry Bird which reflects on the historic tension between the Boston Celtics and the Philly 76ers.
Wayne Gretzky, former NHL prodigy
“Wayne Gretzky, the only man I'd have sex with
Wayne Gretzky, I'd be intimate with
Wayne Gretzky, I think he's kinda sexy
Wayne Gretzky, I wonder what he looks like naked”
"Wayne Gretzky" Goldfinger
It is nearly impossible to listen to this song without cracking at least a smile. Goldfinger muses, “I wonder what it would be like/ To have sex with the league's leading scorer.” The song continues, “Ah, it'll never happen, it's just a pipe dream/ Wait a minute -- I'm not even gay, I'm married!/ Pssh, whatever.”
Many express love and obsession with their favorite sport; Goldfinger takes it to a whole new (and delightfully humorous) level.
Tiger Woods, golfer
“The flow’s insane and the stroke is crazy
I stroke so good, like Tiger Woods
Then I ROAR like a Tiger would”
"Get Buck" Akon feat. Ludacris
Despite the sexual connotation these lyrics hold, I doubt Tiger would be too offended by the reference to his golf prowess on the green. With such an unusual name, it’s surprising there aren’t more songs or parodies based on the phenomenal golfer. Then again, if my real name was Eldrick, I’d think of using catchy, ferocious nicknames too..
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard
“Could you get me out of jail?
(Shawty im a rapper man. I am not a basketball player)
Could you get me out of jail?
(Man this some bullsh*t, man this some Kobe Bryant sh*t.)
Could you get me out of jail?
(Man she came here willingly.)”
"Get Me Out of Jail" Petey Pablo
This is the song that inspired the column. Petey Pablo has a clever sense of humor in this song, as he sings about different ways he landed himself in jail. He pokes fun at himself, as well as the past Kobe Bryant scandal.
He references the basketball player more quietly in between the chorus lines, in order to defend himself against getting arrested for his relations with a lady friend. The whole song is tongue in cheek, yet Kobe would probably not be proud of being included in these particular lyrics.
Magic Johnson, retired Los Angeles Lakers point guard
“Kareem Abdul Jabbar
All time great super super star
I hate to burst your bubble but triple double trouble
Is coming to your town and he's going to make rubble
Does anybody want some Magic Johnson
L. A. Lakers fast break makers
Kings of the court shake and bake all takers
Back to back is a bad ass fact a claim that remains intact”
"Magic Johnson" – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Though it’s hard to determine the lyrics simply by listening to the song, the Red Hot Chili Peppers do an excellent job composing admiring, cleverly written lyrics about the legendary Magic Johnson.
“Lakers are the team that I watch on the telly/ cause they got more moves/than a bowl full of jelly” are definitely lyrics that any Lakers fan could relate to even today, especially considering the teams’ impressive start to the season.
Barry Bonds, former San Francisco Giants left fielder
“Comin' in the club wit that fresh sh*t on,
with something crazy on my arm
Here's another hit, Barry Bonds
We outta here baby!”
"Barry Bonds" Kanye West feat. Lil Wayne
Setting the controversial steroid debate aside, it can’t be argued that Barry Bonds has had his share of hits in his lengthy career. Kanye and Lil Wayne reference Bonds’ success with their one liner “we outta here baby!”
Kanye released this song shortly after Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s record of home runs in August of 2007. Whether Kayne reaches more "hits" in his music career than Bonds in his baseball career is up for the listener to decide.
O.J. Simpson, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Shaquille O’Neal…
“Athletes of today in the NBA, make me proud
But there's somethin' they don't say
Keep gettin' accused for abusin' White p*ssay
From OJ to Kobe, uh let's call him Tobe
First he played his life cool just like Michael”
"These are our heroes"- Nas
Nas takes his rapping to a deeper level than just song and lyric for this tune. He analyzes the definition of a hero, and compares a stereotype of what white people consider a hero for African Americans compared to what Nas views as his own personal heroes.
Nas pays homage to several athletes, including NBA players, as well as prominent African American figures in society.
Yet, at the end of the song, he announces he’s leaving in his limousine to catch a plane; Nas leaves the song’s interpretation up to the listener. No doubt though; he knows his cultural figures and famous basketball stars quite well.
Shaquille O’Neal, Phoenix Suns center
“I had a plan, that I could change the pace
I said, Yo Shaq you didn't tie your shoelace
He looked down, I stole the ball
I'm taking him to school now, watch me all
A three-pointer, nothing but net
Come on Shaq, had enough yet?
Down by two, I'm catching up
I guess your getting nervous
Cuz you already lost”
"How I beat Shaq" – Aaron Carter
This song might may cause a loss in "cool" points, but it had to be added in—the whole concept of the song is so preposterous that it actually gained quite a fan club when it hit the airwaves. (Granted, this was among pre-adolescents in the '90s).
The music video actually features the great Shaq, who can be seen on the court, looking somewhat befuddled. Can’t hardly blame the man; I would be too, if I suddenly found myself in an Aaron Carter music video.
Although these 10 songs may be considerably different in ideology, tune, and concept, they all reference great, successful athletes who have made considerable impressions in American culture and society. It may not be a sole determiner of success, but when an athlete can point to a song and find their name amongst the lyrics, it is a definite marker in the right direction.