Is Damian Lillard the Best Athlete Rapper?

Every baller wants to be a rapper. The seven athletes we've highlighted have skills. But who's the best when it comes to rhyming in sports in 2017?

damian lillard
USA Today Sports

Image via USA Today Sports/Craig Mitchelldyer

damian lillard

It used to be that every baller wants to be a rapper. Nowadays, they basically are.

We’ve never had as many professional athletes, whether football players, basketball players, or even boxers, producing their own music and spitting bars on SoundCloud as we do in 2017. Thanks to the relative ease of releasing a new track or mixtape, their considerable bank accounts, and their proximity to people in the music industry, we've seen the music scene flooded with new material from athletes. But it's not like we haven't seen high profile ballers release music before. 

Today's athletes are just following in the footsteps of pioneers like Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Roy Jones Jr, and Allen Iverson who dropped albums back in the day that people still talk about decades—yes, decades—after the fact.

But will any of today’s ballers measure up to the Shaqs and Kobes of yesteryears when it comes to rhyming? We asked our experts.

Highlighting seven gridiron giants and high-flying hoopsters who, in our humble opinion, are spitting better than any other athletes we’ve heard out there, here are the candidates, in no particular order: 

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard on 'Sway in the Morning.'

Team: Portland Trailblazers

Rap Name: Dame D.O.L.L.A.

Projects: The Letter O, #4BarFridays, 1Up

Best Line: “I ain't make the All-Stars but I'm flu game sick, Last time they count me out, what I do Game 6?”

He’s put out a ton of music and it's generally considered to be pretty good for an athlete. At age 27, Lillard has a long career ahead of him in the NBA. But once he’s done balling, we fully expect him to body the rap game.

Melvin Ingram

Melvin Ingram Complex Original 2

Team: Los Angeles Chargers

Rap Name: SupaMel

Projects: Franchise Tag

Best Line: “I’m in the Wraith with the bag on me, Chargers had to throw the tag on me”

Ingram, who told us in July that he’s the best rapper in sports, showed off his skills during a recent visit to the Complex offices in July.



Le'Veon Bell

Le'Veon Bell Steelers Colts 2017

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Rap Name: Juice

Projects: Post Interview

Best Line: “Yeah, Shrimp Bayless, I been hearing you lately, You love Jerry way too much, You acting like yall related, I got the Hall of Fame waiting, I'm the best and you hate it”

Meanwhile, Bell told us back in April that he thinks his rhymes are way better than anybody else out there. Shocker.


Lou Williams

Lou Williams Listening Party 2017 Getty

Team: Los Angeles Clippers

Rap Name: N/A

Projects: Here Goes Nothing

Best Line: “My teachers used to say I was lazy and second-guessing, Now I'm laughing at they ass, blowing cash, and countin' blessings”

Drake immortalized Williams in “6 Man” from If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. We’re waiting for Lou Will to drop similar bars about his boy from up north.


Iman Shumpert

Iman Shumpert

Team: Cleveland Cavaliers

Rap Name: N/A

Projects: Th3 #Post90s mixtape

Best Line: “Kevin Johnson smash trick, ooh, he's so vintage, Two-headed monster, ay man, I'm gifted

Pete Rock vouched for me, better watch out for me, I think my following so popping it'll be the lights for me"

Compared to her husband, Teyana Taylor is definitely more musically gifted of the music/basketball power couple. Shumpert burst onto the athlete-rapper scene during his days with the Knicks and his rhyming has seemingly slowed down since he’s been in Cleveland.

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant waits for the 2017 NBA Finals Media Day to get underway.

Team: Golden State Warriors

Rap Name: N/A

Projects: TBD

Best Line: “My dreams coming to fruition, My money coming in like they pay me a tuition, Swag what they talkin’ man, I’m the definition”

We’ve heard very little from Durant, including something he did with LeBron James recently. But by all accounts Durant takes his rapping seriously. His teammate JaVale McGee told us he wants to get in the studio with KD.

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball NBA Summer League 2017 NBA

Team: Los Angeles Lakers

Rap Name: N/A

Projects: TBD

Best Line: “Always acting, where ya Oscar?, Felt the heat but I'm hotter, You a king I'm still your father, Simba n***a, I'm Mufasa, See the crown and then I conquer”

We've only heard a few bars from Ball so the jury is still out on what kind of talent he truly possesses. But we're guessing he's much better at passing the ball than he is spitting bars. 

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