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:
Who is the most referenced athlete in hip-hop?
Who is the most referenced athlete in music period?
What are some of your favorite and most obscure athlete references in music?
Let us know in the comments.
Reverend Paul Revere, aka Joe Boland, is a sports blogger out of Philadelphia whose life revolves around sports 365 and a quarter days per year. Keep up with Rev at his own personal blog, The House That Glanville Built and on Twitter.