Most Referenced Athlete In Hip-Hop History

QOTD: Who Is The Most Referenced Athlete In Hip-Hop History?

Monday afternoon, in the midst of The Sports Fan Journal's second birthday, our fearless leader started an email chain to the crew with the following two sentences:

"I was listening to Peter Rosenberg today and he said that he thinks that Mike Tyson is the most referenced athlete in rap history. Do you all agree, or is Jordan the leader in this lane too?"

Naturally, this got us to thinking … who is the most referenced athlete? I'm sure someone has attempted to figure this out somewhere, but I don't have the time or patience for any of that.

The TSFJ crew seemed to lean toward Michael Jordan, though Tyson got his fair share of votes — and a mention for Muhammad Ali too. And me, being an avid music listener who likes to unearth when athletes and music collide, became quite curious about the topic.

Clearly, hip-hop has made a ton of references to athletes over the years. Being from Philadelphia, I know how popular Allen Iverson has been in the hip-hop culture — though he's nowhere near Jordan on the name-drop scale. (Seriously, check out all these references.) My guess is much the same, that it's probably between Tyson and Jordan — but what do you all think? Let us know below.

Of the same vein, I'm also curious about the most obscure athlete references in both hip-hop and music in general, and also what some of your favorite references are.

Here is one of my favorites, an amazing mash-up of rappers referencing Alonzo Mourning:

And here are some more classics:

So, to recap:

  1. Who is the most referenced athlete in hip-hop?
  2. Who is the most referenced athlete in music period?
  3. What are some of your favorite and most obscure athlete references in music?

Let us know in the comments.

9 Replies to “QOTD: Who Is The Most Referenced Athlete In Hip-Hop History?”

  1. Somebody dropped a "ballin like Kerry Kittles" in a track once. Maybe somebody from wu tang? Cant rremember but it was obscure enough to remember that reference

  2. I have a friend who always sings "Todd Pinkston" when Nelly sings "Time Wasting" in Hot in Here, which makes no sense but that's something.

    Also, my favorite athlete name drop of all time doesn't really qualify because it wasn't in a song … but in an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Shoolly D drops a line in the middle: "Time is passing by like Donovan Mc-Niz-abb." Unfortunately, I can't find that clip on YouTube anywhere.

  3. I think it would be interesting to see how different eras have referenced athletes. I could see in earlier times of hip-hop that boxers were referenced more. Storylines of being the king, being aggressive and shocking the world with this new rap music was big. Tyson and Ali helped metaphorically.

    Then there was a shift in amassing wealth, being the best and being the man. Jordan fit that mold now for two generations.

    It's also interesting to see how in this current era of hip-hop, anyone and everyone is referenced. Cam Newton has his own song, KD gets shouted out by Wale consistently, Action Bronson has albums named after a sports movie. It's cool how its more diverse now more than ever.

    Cool stuff here, and that bdon website is insane. Nice work Rev.

    -Ed.

  4. "Runnin mad games as if your name was Scott Skiles" is a classic from Tribe but my favorite I think is "My team can't win without me, I'm like Allen I" by 50

  5. Eminem ladies and gentlemen from "Just Don't Give A F***": I'm buzzin', Dirty Dozen, naughty rotten rhymer/ cursin at you players worse than Marty Schottenheimer.
    Also the freestyle where tells the guy he's gonna put him a coma longer than Vladimir Konstantinov, which I don't agree with making light of a serious, life threatening injury, but Em has talent.

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