Is Damian Lillard the Best NBA Rapper of All-Time?

Alex Edmonds
4 min readSep 7, 2019


There’s been this trend for the past 10 to 20 years where NBA players want to be rapper and rappers want to be NBA players. And in almost all cases, the NBA player is trash at rapping and the rapper is trash at basketball. Take Drake or Tory Lanez as examples. The two hip hop artists are absolutely atrocious at basketball, yet still choose to upload videos of themselves playing, thinking that they are somewhat attached to the NBA. In reality, Tory Lanez has the ugliest jump shot I have ever seen and Drake… well Drake is at the point of delusion where he thinks that he’s in the NBA. (Don’t even get me started on some of his stupid ass sideline antics during the finals). That dude wishes he was in the NBA probably more than most draft prospects do.

On the flip side, there have been some NBA players who have made atrocious music. Players like Tony Parker, Steve Francis, and Delonte West are a few that have had sorry attempts at rapping. And let’s not forget about Kobe’s song “Thug Poet.” It’s hard to believe that someone as talented as Kobe could make something so terrible. And as a side note, it’s pretty wild that NBA players are capable of putting out shitty music. You’d think that, with the fame and money that someone like Kobe has, he’d be able to use his connections to get somewhat good production. If Uzi or Young Thug can piggy back on producers, I’m sure Kobe could do the same.

Anyways, although most NBA players are terrible at music and most rappers are terrible at basketball, there have been some rare instances of success. J Cole and Quavo have proven to be pretty good at basketball. Not that either of them are close to NBA level, but I’d say they’re both better than Denzel Valentine. And for NBA players, Shaq wasn’t a good rapper, but he at least experienced a bit of popularity with his music. Believe it or not, Shaq signed a record deal with Jive back in the 90s and his album Shaq Diesel went platinum. With that said, just because you go platinum doesn’t mean your music is actually good. I think Drake is the best example of that. Selling a million records is a lot easier when you already have a huge following from your basketball career, so it’s hard to say that Shaq’s record sales actually came from his talent. I haven’t heard many of Shaq’s raps, but considering how much he mumbles on Inside the NBA, it’s hard to imagine that his verses are actually Nas-level.

Despite what Shaq or any other NBA rapper has accomplished in the rap game, the crown for best NBA rapper has to go to Damian Lillard. Dame has been working on his music for a while now, and his shining moment came after his freestyle on Sway in the Morning went viral.

After Dame’s appearance on Sway in the Morning, he proved that his raps aren’t just good for an NBA player, they’re good period. I mean seriously, I don’t think many professional rappers could have had a freestyle as good as what he did on Sway’s show. Trippie Redd will never have a verse that good in his life.

But for Dame, it’s not just freestyles. The Oakland native has now released 3 albums, with each one being better than his last. Lillard’s music quality is so good that he has even earned the respect of big-name artists like Lil Wayne and J Cole. Not to mention that he’s had some great collabs with both of them.

For any old head arguing that Shaq is the best NBA rapper, they might point out that Shaq actually collaborated with Biggie Smalls back in the day, which I admit is pretty fuckin legendary. However, collaborating with a legend doesn’t make you a legend by default. 6ix9ine did a song with Kanye, but that doesn’t make him a legend. In fact, 6ix9ine isn’t in any GOAT conversation. He’s in jail. So yeah, I’m still taking Dame Dolla over Shaq.

Dame is the best NBA rapper ever. And what’s wild is that he has other youngsters in the NBA trying to take his throne. Earlier this summer we saw Marvin Bagley go on First Take and say that he was the best rapper in the NBA. (Little did Marvin know that he was digging his own grave). This display of cockiness led to Max Kellerman, Big J Journalist, baiting Bagley into challenging Dame to a rap battle. A challenge that Marvin should have never taken.

We all know what happened after this. Within a few hours of the First Take episode airing, Dame dropped the first of his two diss tracks and completely obliterated Marvin. Seriously, Dame made him look like a damn fool. The tracks were so good that other players like Kevin Durant even chimed in, letting Marvin know how stupid he was to challenge the NBA’s best rapper.

So yeah, lesson learned, don’t try to challenge Dame to a rap battle. He’ll make you look worse than Meek Mill after Drake’s ghost writers dropped Back to Back.

Until someone like Marvin or Lonzo can step up their rap game, it looks like Dame Dolla is going to claim the throne as Best NBA Rapper of All Time. Dame’s music resume speaks for itself and he’ll probably be going on world tours once he retires.