• Ike Okwerekwu

How Hip Hop Inspires LeBron James to be Great

Lebron James and Hip Hop

LeBron James may be the best NBA player of all time. Although many people would mention Michael Jordan or Kareem-Abdul Jabbar in GOAT conversations, one thing no one can deny is LeBron’s greatness. The iconic sports figure won three NBA championships, four MVP awards, three NBA finals MVP, and two Olympic gold medals. Although various traits have contributed to his prolific NBA career such as his leadership, basketball IQ, incredible genes, work ethic, and God-given ability, an often-overlooked aspect of his life that played an essential role in his career is hip hop music.

Whether he’s working out to stay in shape or hanging out in the locker room with his teammates, LeBron is constantly listening to music. The reasons why he listens to music often are the same reasons why I enjoy music. We both listen to music because we have a genuine passion for hip hop culture and find inspiration from hip hop music. LeBron often shows his love for rap by posting videos of him enjoying music on Instagram.

It’s nice to know one of the best athlete in the world has a great ear for music. In 2015, he responded to the Twitter question, “Who’s your favorite rapper of all time” with Jay Z. The influence Jay Z has had on LeBron is apparent in his business endeavors (Nike endorsement deal, The Barbershop Series, Public School in Akron), which was an important factor in his decision to move to Los Angeles.

The man loves hip hop music so much that he’s even made some rap tracks himself. I applaud his efforts to make music, but I’m glad LeBron isn’t too focused on being a rapper. His most popular track, “It Ain’t Easy” features Kevin Durant who had some respectable bars and seems to be heavily influenced by Tupac’s rap song, “It Ain’t Easy.”

LeBron James has also collaborated with many artists by marketing and promoting their music. His most notable contribution to hip hop is his executive production on 2 Chainz's last album, “Rap or Go to the League.” LeBron guided the southern rapper during the recording process by being an A&R and sharing his opinion on the album tracks.

LeBron also started his TV series, “The Shop” in which he discusses various topics related to sports and music featuring well-known artists and athletes like Snoop Dogg, Drake, Pharrell, Travis Scott, Draymond Green, and Antonio Brown. The show depicts the barbershop experience in which people freely speak about culturally relevant topics. Below is a clip of Pharrell and Travis Scott talking about the new generation of hip hop music with LeBron.

The profound impact music has in LeBron’s life on and off the court is unquestionable. His love for hip hop culture inspired him to start his TV series, “The Shop”, make rap music, and collaborate with 2 Chainz on his last album. Just like hip hop music motivates LeBron to strive for greatness, I encourage you to listen to music as a source of inspiration for achieving success.

“Greatness is defined by how much you want to put into what you do”

LeBron James


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