By Daniel Richter
Web Content Contributor
Sports have been influencing music for ages. This is especially true when it comes to basketball and hip hop. If you search for a song titled “Lebron James” on Spotify you will be greeted by tons of tracks by hip hop artists including Joey Purp, Yo Gotti and Young Dolph. However basketball has impacted genres of music other than rap. Here are some great tracks named after basketball players from genres all across the board.
“Ballad of Larry Bird” by Vermont
The band Vermont from Milwaukee provides us with a ballad referencing the Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird. Vermont’s lead singer Davey von Bohlen compares himself to Bird by being a “straight shooter” when it comes to his feelings for a certain someone. The heartwarming track will have you thinking about the one that got away.
“Detlef Schrempf” by Band of Horses
Three-time All-Star and two-time Sixth Man of the Year Detlef Schrempf is the topic of an awesome track by Band of Horses. Schrempf spent many of his best years in Seattle, thus landing on the Seattle band’s radar. The song is very emotional with a subject matter about moving on. The song doesn’t directly reference Schrempf but the subject matter is similar to when Schrempf left Seattle and headed to Portland (big rivals at the time).
“Pistol Pete” by The Ziggens
The California band The Ziggens put together a beautiful song walking listeners through the life of the incredible “Pistol” Pete Maravich. Maravich, known as one of the best ball handlers of all time, tragically died at the age of 40 while playing pickup basketball. The song does an amazing job taking listeners from his childhood to his death and legacy.
“Magic Johnson” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
The world famous Red Hot Chili Peppers do a great job of commending one of their favorite players from their hometown team, Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers. This fast-paced fun song is basically just the Chili Peppers ranting about why the Lakers are the best team in the league. They reference the teams back to back championships as well as other LA All-Stars. They beg the question, “does anybody want some Magic Johnson?!”
“Michael Jordan” by Five For Fighting
The G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan is the topic of a hard-hitting song by Five For Fighting. Lead singer John Ondrasik vents about how he would literally do anything for the opportunity to be the Jordan. The song builds as Ondrasik offers up all his earthly belongings for Jordan starting with his shirt and ending with his wife and kids. Some people will do anything to be like Mike.
“Scottie Pippen” by Bren Joy
Bren Joy, an up-and-coming artist from Nashville, hits listeners with the irresistibly groovy song named after Scottie Pippen. Pippen is a six-time NBA champion and seven-time All-Star. Joy discuss his struggles and his new success which has him living large and feeling like Scottie Pippen. You’re not going to be able to sit still during this track.
“Dennis Rodman” by Mansionz ft. Dennis Rodman
When artists Mike Posner and blackbear came together to form the duo Mansionz, they released a project with a lot of emotional highs and fun/funky gooves. Dennis Rodman is a song that you can have fun with. Much like Rodman’s personality, the song showcases confidence and swagger. Rodman even has a guest verse at the end of the song!
“Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song)” by Toby Keith
Country superstar Toby Keith gets incredibly emotional in this track he wrote mourning the loss of basketball player and musician, Wayman Tisdale. Keith and Tisdale were friends and the song even begins with a message Tisdale left on Keith’s answering machine. Grab some tissues– you’re going to need them.
“Michael Jordank” by Dikembe
Florida group Dikembe bring the heat on their 2017 album Chicago Bowls, especially on the song titled after the Chicago Bull, Michael Jordan. In the song, Dikembe vents about the struggles he has been facing. There is not a clear connection to Michael Jordan in the song but who cares, it’s a great track.
“The Ballad of Charles Barkley” by Sledding With Tigers
Throughout Sledding With Tigers’ 2015 album Come on and Slam, there are multiple song intros that features soundbites from the popular basketball movie Space Jam (1996). That is how the folk song “The Ballad of Charles Barkley” begins. After Barkley’s introduction, the song takes a lonely turn as songwriter Dan Faughnder vents about how he feels lost and can’t control his emotions. Just like how Barkley feels lost with a championship ring.
Check out my Spotify playlist featuring all of the songs mentioned!
Featured image by Daniel Richter.