We have all heard the adage rappers want to be athletes and athletes want to be rappers. A great example of this today is Toronto Raptors super fan and arguably one of the most successful rappers of this Generation is Drake. He can always be seen court-side at Raptors games. When you see athletes today, they barrow fashion and mannerisms from the culture of Hip-Hop. The pioneer of this movement of bringing hip-hop culture into the sports world was. The National Basketball Association Hall of Famer, THE Answer Allen Iverson. A.I. would come to the arena with long chains, earrings, and pieces of jewelry with the bagging pants, long t-shirts, and the fitted hats were all reminiscent of early 2000’s Hip-Hop fashion. Iverson’s impact on the basketball world became so prevalent that the NBA’s commissioner at the time David Stern Instituted a dress code outline of what players could wear to the games. This is why in today’s NBA many players are wearing suits and such things to the games. Iverson’s influence has leaked into other professional leagues as well such as the National Football League. The NFL racial makeup is about 70% African American players in the league and the NBA is about 74%. This may be true because many of the athletes and rappers share the similar upbringing of impoverished neighborhoods and use their smart along with athletic ability to become the successful people they are today. Hip-Hop music is the soundtrack to many of these athletes’ lives because the music tells the story of a community of people of triumph and struggle. The rise in Hip-Hop as a mainstream genre of music and the popularity of the two biggest sports here in North America coincide with each other as The Rap music genre was taking off so was basketball with one of the most popular players of the 90’s Michael Jordan was winning his six championships in the NBA. Also, there was Prime-Time Deion Sanders who was the Iverson of the NFL with his gold chains and his flamboyant swagger. He would be seen and associated with one of the most successful Hip-Hop stars at the time MC Hammer. These two forms of entertainment however different in what they provide will be permanently linked to each other because of the connection and impact they have on the culture and society today.
By: Thomas Burton