The Basketball Hall of Fame last night announced that Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming and Allen Iverson will each be inducted as part of the 2016 hall class. While there are hundreds of all time greats who have been inducted into the hall for the past 57 years, these three stand out as individuals who appealed to groups that had not been represented in any professional sport before. Yao introduced NBA basketball to billions of Chinese citizens and made the game global. Shaq was a dominant big man in the mold of Wilt and Kareem but could run the floor, sell rap records and be marginally funny. Iverson was the one who broke the mold though.
Although Allen Iverson is being inducted into the hall based on his ability to dominate on the basketball court and his jaw dropping statistics, his impact as a cultural icon is what will keep his name in the minds of his fans forever. Iverson was unapologetic when it came to his love for and expression of hip hop culture.
Iverson’s style was his own. He arrived at arenas looking more Method Man than Michael Jordan. The long white tees, baggy jeans, throwback jerseys and durags were something that the casual NBA fan in 1996 was not used to seeing on a budding superstar. The genesis of the Iverson era also coincided with the release of some of hip hop’s most creative/innovative albums in 1996. All Eyez on Me (2Pac), It Was Written (Nas), The Score (The Fugees), ATLiens (OutKast) and Reasonable Doubt (Jay Z) all dropped in 1996.
While Iverson’s rookie year was an introduction for most to what a professional athlete who loves hip hop culture looks like, he was still on a team that only won 22 games. Also, in the middle of the Michael Jordan era, everything else can seem small. It was not until the second MJ retirement and the development of a winning organization did attention turn to Iverson and his different approach to everything.
By 1999, the Sixers were a playoff team with a credible coach, Larry Brown. At this point, Iverson is on a national stage and stays there for the next ten years. He ultimately becomes league MVP in 2001 and steps over the Cavs coach later that season in the NBA Finals.
However, even though Iverson’s star is rising, his hip hop style becomes an issue for owners and NBA commissioner David Stern. In 2005, the NBA instituted a league wide dress code which basically ruled out everything in Iverson’s closet. The impact Iverson had on NBA style was seen a threat to the brand and profitably of the NBA. Even though his talent and leave it on the floor mentality was selling out arenas around the country.
After 2005, Iverson did not win much as a member of the Nuggets, Pistons, Grizzlies and one final stint with the Sixers. However, his legacy remained intact. Current NBA superstars like Stephen Curry and LeBron James all look to Iverson as a reason to play as hard as you can each game. Iverson’s willingness to express himself make it easy for Melo, KD and Russ to openly express their love for hip hop music and culture. This is something that MJ, Scottie or Chuck could never relate to.
The induction of Allen Iverson into the Basketball Hall of Fame equates to the induction of hip hop into the hall. Cant wait for his speech.
Speaking of Jordan…
Theeeee New York Knicks annihilated the Milwaukee Bucks tonight. Melo moved the ball and the bench came up huge all night long. As a life long Knicks I’ve learned to celebrate the little things and live in the moment. I’m enjoying this moment…
I admit it, I’m a fan of ratchet reality. The first step in fixing a problem is admitting you have one. I am well aware of the drama and negative images that ratchet reality displays. But its just so damn entertaining!!!
Lately though, the plot lines and drama have become a little monotonous. The champagne throwing, hair pulling, parking lot fighting and unfaithful men/women in relationships can only stimulate my college educated mind for so long. The best cure for this fading reality show formula is to put people in these shows who are actually relevant.
The Love & Hip Hop: Relevant Edition (LHHRE) cast should include:
Jay Z & Beyonce: The most accomplished married couple in the history of hip hop should definitely be cast in the most relevant edition of ratchet reality. Cameras will follow around Jay and Bey as they sit at home and watch awards shows they are too good to attend. Also as we get a sneak peak into their home life, we get to find out how Blue Ivy really feels about the fact that her hair has never been combed. Finally, we get to see the conflict between Jay and Bey as Memphis Bleek spends one too many nights sleeping on the couch. Bleek tries to make it up to the Carters by making his famous Memphis meatloaf and babysitting Blue Ivy as Jay and Bey dance on a random beach.
Drake: The hottest artist in the industry lets us follow him around as his hotline bling’s and he coats his bread with truffle butter. Drake’s main story line will include his new goal of trying to bench press more than Serena Williams. Their relationship takes a turn for the worst when Serena catches Drake working out with Ronda Rousey as Worst Behavior plays in the background. The fight that ensues between Serena and Ronda rivals that of Iron Man and the Hulk. The ground shakes and buildings collapse. Drake tries to break up the fight but ends up with a horrible spinal injury that confines him to a wheel chair (sound familiar).
Fetty Wap: The New Jersey native with the permanent wink, lets us follow is meteoric rise in the hip hop industry. Fetty lets cast mate Beyonce help him find his Trap Queen after a lifetime of casual dating. On one of Fetty’s first blind dates (couldn’t help it) he is set up with Taylor Swift. Fetty and Swift connect instantly. Trap Luv ensues as the couple playfully argues over who’s song was number one on iTunes the longest. Unfortunately, like many ratchet reality relationships, Swift leaves Fetty when she finds out his eye has been wandering. Swift pops up unexpectedly at 1738 Trap Avenue and finds Fetty in bed with one of the girls from the Hotline Bling video.
Dej Loaf: The female version of Big Sean rounds out our cast. Dej will let us into her remarkable ability to rap off beat and still sell records. Deja is introduced to Lil Kim by Jay Z to help her find her way in the industry as a rising female star. The relationship sours when Dej spends the night drinking Hennessy and mistakes Kim for a human size cat like alien creature. Dej is brought back to reality by being shown pictures of Kim from 1996.
(Meek Mill and Nicki Minaj did not return phone calls to join the show once they discovered Drake had already been cast)