Rapper Master P has thrown his hat into the ring as a candidate for the New Orleans Pelicans's new head coach following the dismissal of Stan Van Gundy after the team failed to qualify for the 2021 NBA playoffs.
Master P, real name Percy Miller, told TMZ Sports in an interview released Tuesday he's serious about the gig as a New Orleans native who had preseason stints as a player with the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors in the late 1990s, and who's also gained coaching experience at the AAU level.
"I played in the NBA. I done coached a lot of great players that are in the league," Master P said. "I done took my sons from being high school athletes to maybe they'll be the next future big-time pro athletes. ... If they bring me in as a head coach or assistant coach, I think I can change the game!"
The Pelicans entered the season with high expectations thanks to a core led by Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball along with a solid supporting cast. The team never found its footing, however, finishing with a 31-41 record, and Van Gundy was let go after just one season.
A report from The Athletic on Thursday suggested "certain family members want Williamson on another team," and there's concern within the organization about whether those "feelings seeped into the player's own views."
So finding a coach who can help keep Williamson happy, a process that likely starts with winning more and becoming a legitimate contender in the loaded Western Conference, is crucial this offseason.
Master P believes he's the right person at the right time to fix what's ailed the Pelicans since taking Zion with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
"We'll win, and Zion will be happy," he told TMZ. "... I feel like it's motivating the players and understanding them. That's the most important thing."
The famed musician pointed toward the Jacksonville Jaguars' signing of former quarterback Tim Tebow as an example of thinking outside the box.
"You look at Tim Tebow, they brought him to play as a tight end because they looking at times is changing," Master P said. "The NBA is entertainment. I think it's time for me to be the first hip-hop coach."
He's a long shot in the Pelicans' hunt for a head coach, but the franchise may benefit from getting him more involved in the organization given his connection to the city and his passion for the sport.