NBA Jams: 10 Slammin' Songs For The All-Star Game
While fans get ready to watch Kobe, LeBron, Dwight and CP3 in Orlando, Billboard.com is offering its own stellar basketball collection: 10 basketball-themed songs and music videos that will fire up any hoops diehard. From Michael Jackson's b-ball jam to all-star tracks by Shaquille O'Neal and Ron Artest (er, excuse me, Metta World Peace), check out these 10 slammin' songs that can soundtrack any All-Star party.
B-Real, Coolio, Method Man, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes, "Hit 'Em High (The Monstars' Anthem)"
What better way to begin this list with the "Space Jam" soundtrack's "Hit 'Em High," which featured an incredible amount of hip-hop talent for a song about evil, basketball-playing cartoons. Bonus points for the use of the fish-eye lens during Busta's verse in the music video; even in posse cuts, '90s Busta was all about the fish-eye.
Aaron Carter, "That's How I Beat Shaq"
In the early 2000s, as the Los Angeles Lakers were in the middle of a three-peat, nobody was beating Shaquille O'Neal -- except, of course, for teen pop star Aaron Carter. The singer recounts his story of defeating the all-star center in a pickup game while relying on catchy hooks and lines like, "Three-pointer, nothing but net!/Come on Shaq, had enough yet?" Tragically, the basketball upset was all a dream for AC… or was it?
Kurtis Blow/Bow Wow, "Basketball"
Historians will likely debate for years which version of "Basketball" -- Kurtis Blow's smooth 1984 original or Bow Wow's hyped-up 2002 re-imagining for "Like Mike" -- is better. To his credit, Blow included ninjas in his music video, dodging kicks as he shouts out Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas. But Bow Wow (Lil Bow Wow at the time of filming) does sport some pretty sick court moves in his "Basketball" clip. Let's call it a triple-OT win for Blow.
Troop 41, "Do The John Wall"
It wasn't enough for Washington Wizards point guard John Wall to be the top overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft after becoming a star at the University of Kentucky -- he had to have a dance, too. Actually, the "John Wall," as demonstrated by hip-hop troupe Troop 41, is surprisingly simple to do, even more so than the Dougie. Basically, you flex your arm and occasionally twist your wrist around to display your bicep. We can only hope that Troop 41 writes more odes to the dance moves of emerging b-ball stars to pass the time during the lockout. How about "Do The Gordon Hayward" or "Do The Al-Farouq Aminu"?
Shaquille O'Neal, "(I Know I Got) Skillz"
Shaq announced his retirement at the end of last season, and while his four NBA championships are wholly impressive, there's nothing quite like listening to the big man drop some rhymes, as he was wont to do in the 90s. Click here to check out more of Shaq's stunning musical moments, but we fondly remember O'Neal's microphone "Skillz" on this dark NBA day.
Cheech & Chong/Barry White & Chris Rock, "Basketball Jones"
After Cheech & Chong incorporated the "Basketball Jones" melody into a 1974 short film, Barry White and Chris Rock teamed up for a new interpretation on the "Space Jam" soundtrack. The newer version is a particularly strange ditty, with Rock jamming to White's smooth crooning and shouting out the "Space Jam" stars by proclaiming, "Bugs Bunny in the house! Elmer Fudd in the house!"
Skee-Lo, "I Wish"
Have you ever wished that you were 6 foot 9 and could impress the ladies with your court skills, instead of simply watching from the bleachers? Skee-Lo has, too. This funky 1995 single frames failed romance around the rim, and its refrain, "I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller," became instantly ubiquitous.
Michael Jackson, "Jam"
MJ invited the other MJ -- Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan -- to the music video for this "Dangerous" hit, which featured the late great Heavy D. Jordan had some pretty incredible moves, but can anything match Jackson's Herculean one-handed b-ball throw at the 2:33 mark of the clip? Even if Jackson needed a ladder to dunk, he moonwalks over the competition in the video's climactic warehouse game.
Ron Artest, "Champions"
Hopefully Ron Artist will find time in his busy schedule to record more bangers like "Champions," in which he asks for a "moment of silence" for the 2010 champion Los Angeles Lakers. The most fascinating aspect of "Champions" is how Artest portrays himself as a cross-sport world-beater: one moment he's "taking shots of vodka out of Stanley's Cup," and then he's "so Michael Phelps/SO many gold medals, too many title belts."
Master P, "Make Em Say UGH"
Sure, Master P's breakout hit isn't actually about basketball. But when a music video includes a gold-plated tank rumbling onto a basketball court and shooting missiles at the backboard to blast the rim to smithereens, it is automatically included on any music-related basketball list. For those who are unaware what last fall's NBA lockout was about, the players wanted a 50-50 split of the gold tanks that shoot missiles at the backboard, while the owners want a majority of the gold tanks. It was a sad, but understandable, sticking point.