Whether you’re a music addict or a sports fan, you’ve probably heard the old adage of rappers wanting to be ballers or ballers wanting to be rappers. Perhaps you’ve caught Kevin Durant partying in the pit at a Kanye West concert, saw DJ Khaled sitting courtside in Miami, or heard Damian Lillard spit a few bars on his debut album. Whatever the case, music and sports seem to be a perfect match. NBA All-Star Weekend is upon us and a real sports fan knows that it’s much more than just the game itself, but rather a mid-season celebration of soaring dunks, three-point shots, and a battle between the league’s top notch players.
However, NBA All-Star Weekend isn’t just about the athletes. One of the weekend’s popular events is the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, in which retired legends, actors, and musicians get to fulfill their hoop dreams. Celebrities attend games during the regular season frequently and this exhibition is a way to show fans they’ve been taking notes from the likes of LeBron James and Stephen Curry. Artists such as Justin Timberlake, Nelly, Wale, and Snoop Dogg have all participated in this annual game in the past.
This year is no different as ESPN’s SportsCenter hosts Michael Smith and Jemele Hill prepare to coach their team of Hollywood stars. Perhaps these celebrities have always believed that ball is life, but since they didn’t make it to the league, they have one game to show off their skills. You’ll have to tune in this weekend to see if your favorite celebrity has what it takes to play in the NBA, but until then here’s a list of songs you need in your life from five artists playing in the celebrity game:
Nick Cannon, “Gigolo”
Nick Cannon is a jack of all trades in the industry. He’s come a long way since his days on Nickelodeon’s All That and his starring role in the hit film Drumline. Although he holds many titles such as host, producer, actor, and entrepreneur, he doesn’t shy far from his passion for music. His biggest hit-to-date is the R. Kelly-assisted single, “Gigolo.” The song was released back in 2003 and for kids who grew up in the ’90s, listening to “Gigolo” nowadays would be an ultimate throwback. Cannon is making his ninth appearance in the celebrity game, perhaps he’ll finally win the MVP title.
Ansel Elgort, “Home Alone”
Ansel Elgort is another celebrity who also ventures into different industries. Primarily know for starring in films such as Carrie and Divergent, he’s also a singer and DJ who’s played sets at the Electric Zoo Festival and Ultra Music Festival. In 2016, he took a quick break from spinning on the ones and twos to release his debut dance single, “Home Alone.” The song was a summer smash and left fans wondering when he plans on dropping his debut album. Until then, fans can catch Elgort making his second appearance in the all-star game this weekend.
Fat Joe, “All The Way Up”
Fat Joe is actually not playing in the game this year, but rather offering his coaching skills alongside Jemele Hill for Team East. Throughout Joey Crack’s career, he’s scored major hits with Big Pun, Nas, R. Kelly, Ashanti and Busta Rhymes. Last year, he teamed up with his longtime collaborator Remy Ma for their smash hit, “All The Way Up.” The single quickly climbed the Billboard charts and scored two Grammy nominations. If Fat Joe doesn’t come up with the best game plans for his team, there’s no doubt he would be the team’s best hype man, “Nothing can stop me, I’m all the way up!”
Romeo Miller, “Shoulder”
Romeo Miller is no stranger to the game of basketball. He played guard at USC for two seasons, but is mostly known for his acting and music career (and as the son of the next artist). Although his biggest hits were heating up the airwaves in the early 2000s, he has continued to mature his sound. His latest single “Shoulder” samples the Wayne Wonder smash hit, “No Letting Go.” The single projects a smooth island vibe that is sure to get listeners ready for warmer weather. Romeo is taking his talents back to the celebrity game court to represent Team West.
Master P, “Make ‘Em Say Ugh”
If there’s any player that is going to school his fellow teammates on the court, it’s Master P. The No Limit soldier had brief NBA contracts with the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors in the late ’90s. Master P released his debut album in 1991 and went on to become a top music mogul who has evidently influenced the careers of rappers including Snoop Dogg, Diddy and Jay Z. Master P dropped his hit single “Make ‘Em Say Ugh” back in 1997 and ultimately became one of his highest charting singles to date. This classic party anthem will go down in history as one of best pregame pump-up songs.
Be sure to tune in this weekend as NBA All-Star Weekend takes over New Orleans.
Mya Singleton a.k.a. Mya Melody is a music writer hailing from the Bay Area. As the current music editor for TSFJ, think of her as the playlist virtuoso or the audio aficionado for sports fans everywhere. Although music is her first love, she occasionally partakes in any argument regarding the NBA. She’s a huge Kobe Bryant fan who’s still upset Chris Paul never became a Laker. To this day, Hardball is one of the saddest movies she’s ever watched, R.I.P. G-Baby! Follow her as she navigates to change the face of music journalism and remember, a wise philosopher once said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”