Check out what Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace and Devin Ebanks are listening to in these exclusive Q&As.
The 2012-2013 NBA season is finally upon us, and no team is being talked more than the new-look Los Angeles Lakers. After winning the NBA championship in 2010, the Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, spent the past two seasons bowing out of the playoffs in the second round. So what did one of the most storied franchises in sports do this offseason? For starters, they added Dwight Howard, the "Superman" center of the league, and Steve Nash, a two-time MVP and one of the most reliable point guards ever. For the LA Lakers, this season is about reestablishing dominance, and it's the Finals or bust.
Although the Lakers have the arduous task of defeating some of the best basketball players in the world, the players digest music just like everyone else. For some, music is a motivational tool that amps up the locker room before tip-off; others listen to songs well off the beaten path; and some players even dabble in recording themselves.
Before the start of the season, Billboard chatted with three Lakers players -- defensive specialist Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest), up-and-coming forward Devin Ebanks and new superstar Dwight Howard -- about their individual musical tastes. Check out what each player had to say about their favorite artists and the musical vibe of the Lakers locker room, and then listen to some of their choice cuts below.
METTA WORLD PEACE
Billboard: What have you been listening to as the season approaches?
Metta: My song "Champion" is on iTunes, I'm listening to that. I got a song called "Work Out" -- when it's time for me to work out, I listen to that. I listen to Victoria Spivey, who's got a song called "Detroit Moan" from . She was around during the Great Depression. I listen to Alberta Hunter, from the 1920s, who has a song called "How Long, Sweet Daddy, How Long." I love that song.
I listen to Dido, too. Dido's pretty great.
What is it about Dido that you like?
She's an amazing storyteller. She paints great pictures, and not many people are able to do that with their words.
Do you listen to anything more uptempo to pump you up before games?
That's it, right there. My teammates listen to rap; I don't listen to rap. I listen to that stuff right there.
So it calms you down?
Not "calms down," because you don't want to be calmed down. It's just great music that makes you think, that makes you open your mind a little bit.
Do you have an all-time favorite artist?
Probably Lauryn Hill.
I feel like your fans might be pretty surprised by your musical taste, especially some of the more "classic" artists.
I mean, Alberta Hunter is, before a game, the only music in my car that I listen to. I listen to a lot of songs, but in my car, all I have is Alberta Hunter.
Does anyone ever ride in your car and go "What is that?" when Alberta Hunter comes on?
Yeah, all the time!
Billboard: What do you like to listen to before games?
Devin: A lot of Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, T.I., just to name a few.
Do you have a favorite rapper?
Right now, it's Lil Wayne. I'm listening to that "Dedication 4" [mixtape] that just came out, and "No Worries" is my favorite song right now. I listen to that on replay.
I'm very big into music and I have my own mixtape, called "Training Camp," so I'm listening to a lot of my own music now.
Does most of the team like hip-hop as much as you do?
The teammates all pretty much like hip-hop. Pau Gasol likes to play a lot of hip-hop as well in the locker room, and Steve Blake as well. I've heard him singing a couple songs.
Are you a fan of other NBA players with recording careers?
I honestly haven't listened to anybody else besides Metta. I'm always out to support Metta.
So you think he has skills?
Yeah, he has a little bit of skill. We'll eventually get on a track together, I believe.
Billboard: What's some of the stuff you've been listening to lately?
Dwight: Trey Songz, and a lot of different mixtapes. Big Sean's mixtape ["Detroit"] is probably something that I've listened to every day. I wake up, listen to Big Sean. I really like that album. And GOOD Music, "Cruel Summer."
Is that some of the stuff you listen to before tip-off?
Well, right now we're in training camp and all that stuff, so usually when I get up in the morning and head to the gym, I listen to "Detroit." There's a song called "Woke Up," I listen to that first, and I go down a playlist. I listen to some DJ Khaled and some other guys. When I'm headed to the gym, I'm crunk.
Have you been able to chat about music with your new teammates?
A little bit. Everybody has their own kind [of music]. A lot of the guys have been listening to Future a lot, and 2 Chainz. We listen to all that stuff.
Has there been anyone on the Lakers with a surprising musical taste?
We mostly listen to the same type of music, which is cool. I think even Pau likes Drake a lot, if I'm not mistaken.
What are some non-hip-hop acts that you've been listening to?
I listen to some Ray LaMontagne. Sade. A lot of different things. For the most part it's R&B -- I switch it up with a little hip-hop, but for the most part it's R&B. Trey Songz is my favorite.
Have you been listening to his new one, "Chapter V"?
Yeah. He's got some pretty good songs on there, and I definitely think it's one of his best albums. He's got a different styles and flavors. I've known Trey Songz for a while now, we're pretty cool.