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Damian Lillard, Shaq, Serena Williams And Other Notable Rap-letes

Shaq is the most commercially successful athlete to jump into the rap game. Now he has his sights set now on law enforcement. (Raymond Chow/AP)
Shaq is the most commercially successful athlete to jump into the rap game. Now he has his sights set now on law enforcement. (Raymond Chow/AP)
This article is more than 7 years old.

When Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard was left off of the 2016 NBA All-Star team, he responded in two ways.

Yes, he got revenge on the court, dropping a career-high 51 points on Steph Curry and the Warriors. But, he also fired back in the recording booth with a song called, “They Sleep.” Lillard frequently releases tracks on his SoundCloud page under the name Dame D.O.L.L.A.

Lillard is far from the first athlete to try his hand at rapping. Here are other notable players that have stepped behind the mic.

The 1985 Chicago Bears

Any list of athletes turned rappers has to start with the '85 Bears. Three whole months before their Super Bowl XX appearance, "The Chicago Bears' Shufflin Crew" introduced to the world to "The Super Bowl Shuffle."

The song was a smash hit, peaking at No. 41 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and earning a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. Prince may have beaten them out for the Grammy, but Chicago did finish the season with the Lombardi Trophy.

Kobe Bryant

In 2013, writer Thomas Golianopoulos of Grantland explored Bryant’s forgotten rap career and his shelved album, “Visions.”

Golianopoulos details Kobe’s time as part of a Philadelphia rap collective named “CHEIZAW.” The group was formed at Lower Merion High School and Kobe went by the nickname, “The Eighth Man.”

An uncredited Kobe appeared on a cut from Shaq’s 1998 album “Respect” called “3 X’s Dope” and was set to launch his solo career.

His first solo single “K.O.B.E.,” which featured Tyra Banks, debuted in January 2000 to harsh criticism. Kobe was soon dropped from Sony.


There’s no doubt Kobe’s foray into music was inspired by the Big Diesel, one of the most commercially successful athletes turned rappers.

Shaq 1993’s debut “Shaq Diesel” went platinum, and he followed it up with the gold-selling “Shaq-Fu: Da Return.” Four singles from those albums charted on the Billboard Hot 100, topped by “I Know I Got Skillz,” and “I’m Outstanding,” both of which hit the top-10 on the U.S. rap charts.

Shaq went on to release two more albums, 1996’s “You Can’t Stop the Reign” and 1998’s “Respect.”

And, after the Lakers won the 2001 NBA Championship, he blessed us with this moment at the victory parade. Keep your eyes on current Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen dancing behind Shaq in the Dad jeans.

Clint Dempsey

When he’s not captaining the U.S. men’s national soccer team, Dempsey raps under the name “Deuce.” In preparation for the 2006 World Cup, he partnered with Nike to release a USMNT anthem called “Don't Tread.”

And, just before the 2014 World Cup, Dempsey dropped the first single off his yet-to-be released album “The Redux.”

Deion Sanders

The NFL star’s aptly named “Prime Time,” released in 1994 on MC Hammer’s label, featured a stellar cover and music video for “Must be the Money,” but debuted at just No. 70 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Tony Parker

After his Spurs captured the 2007 NBA Championship, Parker took a cue from Shaq and hopped on the mic at the team's championship parade to spit some rhymes in his native French.

That year, Parker his debut album "TP." The album's first single, “Balance Toi,” reached the top of the charts in France, but Parker couldn't find the same success in the U.S.

Metta World Peace

In 2006, the NBA player formerly known as Ron Artest released an album titled “My World,” which featured contributions from the likes of Diddy and Juvenile.

And, after the Lakers won the 2010 NBA Championship, he released his single “Champion.”

Serena Williams

The tennis superstar showed off her skills on the microphone on this 2012 track where she raps about frozen pizza.

Chris Webber

Webber is another NBA player who has had some success behind the mic. The No. 1 NBA draft pick, recording under the alias C.Webb, released an album in 1999 album called “2 Much Drama.” The single “Gangsta, Gangsta” featuring Kurupt, peaked at No. 10 on the Hot Rap Singles chart. Webber also produced for Nas.

Iman Shumpert

Shumpert’s fiancee Teyana Taylor is an accomplished rapper, so it makes sense that he would want to get into the booth as well. Shumpert released a well-received mixtape during his time with the Knicks, and has recorded a series of anthems for his new team, the Cavaliers.

He’s also remixed Drake’s smash-hit “Hotline Bling.”

Jason Kidd

Between the end of his senior season at Cal and the 1994 NBA Draft, Kidd took part in the compilation album “B-Ball’s Best Kept Secret,” with a track called “What The Kidd Did.”

If you're interested, the album — which features Shaq, Gary Payton and Brian Shaw — is available for purchase on Amazon for the low price of $.01.



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