Travis Scott vs. E-40: Which Hip-Hop Icon Is a Bigger NBA Superfan?

Dave Schilling@@dave_schillingWriter-at-LargeMay 23, 2018


Jack Nicholson. Spike Lee. Drake. Kevin Hart. Rihanna. The most popular used car salesman in Sacramento. Celeb superfans and the NBA are like James Harden and beard sheen; they just go together.

But superfan status can't just be bestowed upon anyone sitting courtside who happens to have an IMDB page or fire music track. It's a prestige gig, with serious benefits.

"You should never underestimate the level of eyeballs that are on you when you're courtside," Hart, famously a Sixers superfan, told me when we chatted during this year's All-Star Weekend. "That's from people, that's from cameras, television, the big screen at the top."

Hart soaked in the spotlight on the worldwide stage for two rounds during the Sixers' playoff run, but it's turned from him now. And from here, it only gets brighter.

That's a core rule of celeb superfandom: If you want to be seen, the city and the team gotta be popping. Size of the city and importance of the situation on the court matters just as much as the fit you're rocking. (Think: Reggie Miller vs. Spike Lee in the 1994 East Finals.)

Which brings us to the latest battleground in superfandom.

Warriors vs. Rockets.

The Warriors have more than one celebrity superfan (MC Hammer and Guy Fieri might be disappointed to be left out of this article), but rapper E-40 stands above them all because of his dedication. He went so far as to make the trip to Texas for Game 2 of the West Finals, putting him in direct conflict with the man who has been anointed the Rockets' No. 1 superfan, Travis Scott.

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 4: E-40 poses for a photo prior to the game of the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors at Game Two of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 4, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledge
Jack Arent/Getty Images

But which of these two men is the most dedicated, the most passionate and, most importantly, the dopest dresser?

Through what I am going to hubristically refer to as a "scientific process," I've got your answer to that all-important quest. I've chosen five categories and ranked each man from one to five, with 5 being the best and 1 being the worst. At the end, I'll tally up the scores and declare a winner. If you feel like I've come to my conclusion in error, feel free to post a comment at the bottom of this article, which I assure you I will not read.


Team Loyalty

No category on this list is more important than proving to your fellow fans that you give a damn about the team. You are, in a sense, an avatar that the average supporter can live vicariously through during the good times and the bad times of a game.

When E-40 jaws with a referee, it's as if you, the average Joe, is jawing with that same ref. When he tells the San Francisco Chronicle the Warriors are going to "bring it all the way home" during the 2016 playoffs, you believe it, right up until the moment they blow a 3-1 lead in the Finals.

So does he take it? Not so fast.

Scott was born in Houston but grew up in the suburb of Missouri City. Both are courtside fixtures now that their respective teams are some of the hottest tickets in the NBA. One of Scott's first public appearances after his daughter with Kylie Jenner, Stormi, was born was the Rockets' 102-82 Game 2 victory over the Timberwolves in the first round. He put James Harden in the video for his song "Way Back." PJ Tucker even wore Scott's signature Jordans in that game.

"He's always here," Gerald Green says of Scott's dedication. "He's a big fan of the Rockets."

E-40 is a local, too, having grown up in Vallejo, California, about an hour's drive from Oracle Arena—but also about an hour from Golden 1 Center, where the Kings play. And that's where he runs into a problem in this category. He has told Slam he isn't afraid to rep Northern California's other team. "I got love for the Kings, too," he said. "When Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic and all 'em played for the Kings, I would go to Kings games, too. I got love for the Kings too, because I'm Northern California, bruh."

Another knock on the loyalty: E-40 acknowledges he can't even decide which baseball team he likes, per Vibe, in which he claims to like the A's and the Giants at the same time.

You can't do that. I'm sorry, but that's like saying you went into your local polling place and voted twice, once for each candidate. That's like dating two people at the same time because you "have so much love to give." Nicholson doesn't go to Clippers games. Former Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz doesn't (can't afford to) go to Lakers games. Get it together, E-40.

Travis Scott: 5

E-40: 3


In-Game Antics

Scott is not only a fixture on the sideline, he's also deeply involved in more intimate aspects of the Rockets franchise. He's been seen at practice chucking bricks and getting clowned by Harden. When the camera's rolling, he's watching the game intently—but as far as antics go, he's as likely to be caught staring lovingly into the eyes of Kylie as he is wildin' out over a Chris Paul crossover.

(Also, this wasn't exactly "in-game," but I have to give props to Scott for performing pregame in front of a nearly empty arena last year during the playoffs. That's dedication.)

E-40 isn't rolling with a star the magnitude of a Jenner (unless you really love Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives), but he does get all kinds of shine from the local sports network that carries Warriors games. He was interviewed on the court in Phoenix after the Dubs clinched home-court advantage in the playoffs last season—the sort of media coverage that solidifies his role as the top Golden State fan in the Bay.

Overall, though, both E-40 and Scott put on for their city but don't go overboard like some fans with their game-day antics (I'm looking at you, Drake). So I'm going to call this category a draw.

Travis Scott: 3

E-40: 3


The Fits

When you are famous and at an NBA game, your choice of outfit can backfire in ways you can't even imagine (as Mitt Romney can attest). You have to look good but not too studied. You straight up cannot wear a suit to a game, lest you look like a music publicist or a lawyer, which you are not.

You are a famous person. You need to show up wearing some fire pieces but also not draw too much attention to yourself with choices that are overly bold. More importantly, if you brick a fit, I will find you and put you on blast on Twitter. It's nothing personal. It's my job. Just try to do better next time.

It's a pressure-filled situation, one that E-40 and Scott take different approaches to.

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14:  E-40 attends Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets  on May 14, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

A simple Google search reveals E-40 isn't exactly getting his best garms together for a night at Oracle. He dresses like a fan, which is not a bad thing. What causes him to lose points is an insistence on wearing sparkles, spangles and rhinestones on his team gear. His hat looks like the decorative topping on a cupcake. If you are going to sit courtside to bear witness to one of the best NBA teams of all time, step up your fashion game. The only person who can get away with that much sparkle courtside is Ray Allen's momma, and I know E-40 didn't give birth to Jesus.

Scott dresses at Rockets games mostly like he would any other time he's seen in public—like a modern-day hip-hop icon laced in exclusive Don C-Jordan Brand collaboration NBA shorts. He's also been known to not only wear the free rally shirts at playoff games but also to design some himself. For Game 6 of the 2017 West Semifinals, each fan received Scott's custom designed "Run as One" shirt.

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 16:  Travis Scott looks on during the game between the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on May 16, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO US
Bill Baptist/Getty Images

If you're designing your own team-specific jawnz, you get the win by default.

Travis Scott: 4

E-40: 2


Connection to the City

It's not enough to love your team. You also have to love the town where your team plays. It's crucial your fellow fans—the normies in the cheap seats—feel your passion for the place they call home. Both Scott and E-40 can claim a personal connection to their team's bases of operations. But what are they doing now to strengthen this relationship? You've got to give back to the community and prove your roots are deep.

Scott has dropped references to Houston in songs like "90210" and "Wasted," stating emphatically, "20 racks to show just a little allowance, Only come to Houston if the boy allow it." He participated in a telethon for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, which battered the Houston metro area last year. He's rented movie theaters in the Houston area to show Black Panther. He was given the key to Missouri City. He's an avowed Astros fan who was seen going bananas in the stadium during the Astros' 2017 World Series run. Hell, he even named his album Astroworld. Harden can be found singing Scott lyrics while walking into the arena. The only thing more Houston than Scott is painfully hot, humid weather that makes you want to move away.

E-40 has dropped plenty of references to the Bay Area in his music, going as far as naming a song "Yay Area," in honor of his home. But there are complications with this narrative. We've already discussed E-40's inability to choose a team to be fully loyal to. That makes his connection to the city a bit sketchy, because you can't just rep everything.

Still, you can't deny how integral he is to the Bay. He elevated the hyphy movement, the signature sound of the Bay, and even hosted a radio show on hip-hop station KMEL from 2003 to 2008, broadcasting his influential voice across the region.

And then there's one more clutch thing E-40 did for the Bay: He opened a chain of Wingstop restaurants. The judges will overlook his inability to pick a squad for his integral role in Bay Area music and bringing lemon pepper wings to the masses.

E-40: 5

Travis Scott: 4


Cultural Impact

Top-level celebrity fans have to be larger than life. As much as the guy from The Big Bang Theory might go to every game and want to be the No. 1 Lakers fan, he's got a long line of significantly more important famous people in front of him.

When it comes to picking a superior celebrity fan, one must take that into account.

Scott is one of the hottest MCs in the game today. His last full-length release, a collab with Quavo called Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho, opened at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, and seven of the tracks from that record hit the singles charts.

E-40, meanwhile, is a respected legacy artist. His biggest album, which went platinum, was released in 1995, and the last time he went gold was 2006—but as previously mentioned, he is the voice of the Bay's signature sound, hyphy.

Scott is also dating Jenner, which confers upon him quite a bit of cultural relevance, whether you like it or not.

It's the classic young buck vs. old lion story, a tale as old as time. You can't subtract points because E-40 is older, nor can you give Scott fewer points just because he's been in hip-hop for less time.

Travis Scott: 4

E-40: 4



Travis Scott: 20

E-40: 17

Congratulations to Scott. Your unwillingness to wear sparkly team gear or support the Texas Rangers and San Antonio Spurs in your off time sealed the deal. Let this be a lesson to all of you that what you wear to the game matters and no one likes a fair-weather fan.


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