Fresh off signing to the Warriors (YAY AREA!!!") Kevin Durant sat down with Genius' Rob Markman to talk about all the times he's been name dropped in a song, from Drake on "Weston Road Flows" to Jay Z on "Crown" and more, which is of course interesting, but come on. You know the only quote I really cared about was this one:
J. Cole...he can play [basketball] a bit, he can play. There’s a few guys that can play and there’s a few guys that’s just flat-out terrible. But he can play.
Determining who the best rapper-baller alive is - meaning people who are primarily rappers and also play basketball, not the other way around (like Shaq, Kobe and Damian Lillard, etc.) - has been one of my life's greatest passions. KD co-signing J. Cole's abilities is a huge co-sign of Jermaine's abilities, who at this point has to be considered the leading contender for the greatest rapper-baller alive, and Durant would know. The two actually played one-on-one when filming Durant's Nike commercial.
Cole's far from alone in the conversation though. Chris Brown has showed impressive flashes of skill, as has Nelly, and 2 Chainz has a deadly mid-range jumper, likely the reason he briefly played D1 basketball at Alabama State before dropping out to pursue rap. Similarly, Cam'ron was once a sought after high school baller, and while footage of him playing is oddly scarce, Stalley is rumored to have briefly played at Michigan. (Let's not even mention Lil Romeo's time at USC.)
I've had both Thurz and Mikkey Halsted personally insist to me that they could shake any other rapper alive, and let's not forget that Master P got within a couple games of making an NBA team, an incredibly impressive, and shamefully under-rated, feat.
Frankly, it's a travesty that we've never seen a true rapper basketball game. Just once, let's get all these guys on the court and settle this question, although I know it will never happen. Rapper egos are so fragile they flip out over subliminal disses, they're not about to risk getting dunked on by 2 Chainz. This will just have to remain one of those addictively hypothetical questions, but as far as I'm concerned, even if we never get to see him play under the Friday night lights, the Durant co-sign now puts Jermaine Lamarr Cole on top of the best rapper-baller discussion.
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.