On Thursday night (June 6), the 2013 NBA Finals tip off with one of the most exciting championship match-ups in recent history. LeBron James, the greatest player on the planet, leads the Miami Heat against the San Antonio Spurs, a team that has won four titles with superstar Tim Duncan and coach Gregg Poppovich at the helm. Can the Heat beat the Spurs and treat fans to a repeat of last year’s feat? Or will San Antonio look as good as they did in the Western Conference Finals and breeze to yet another championship?
Before tip-off, Billboard decided to investigate another type of match-up between the two cities: the musical history of San Antonio and Miami. Both cities have been home to a handful of huge stars, with Miami spawning pop, Latin and hip-hop giants and San Antonio producing artists that have dominated the country world for years. Forget LeBron vs. Duncan for a moment — which city’s roster of musical stars is more impressive? Would you go for Gloria Estefan and Rick Ross, or George Strait and Christopher Cross?
In honor of this year’s NBA Finals, check out the dueling eight-man rotations below, and vote for which NBA city boasts the more profound musical history. Want to defend your choice? Sound off in the comments below.
SAN ANTONIO ARTISTS
The country superstar earned his 44th No. 1 song on the Country Songs chart in 2009, and the San Antonio resident (who shows up at a lot of Spurs games!) is still going strong, with his “Love is Everything” album recently debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Michael Nesmith – The Monkees singer-songwriter spent time at San Antonio College before landing a role in “The Monkees” TV series and becoming a beloved pop icon.
Best known for his incredible sweep at the 1981 Grammys, Cross found fame thanks to his self-titled album debut album, which won Album of the Year and helped him lock up the Best New Artist trophy. Meanwhile, “Sailing” was named Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
The Butthole Surfers – The alt-rock group formed in San Antonio in the late 1970s and slowly became kings of the underground thanks to their unforgettably intense live shows. Although they have sporadically toured in the past decade, the Butthole Surfers have not released a new album since 2001.
The rising teen pop singer has gained exposure as an opening act on Taylor Swift’s “Red” tour after spending his formative years in San Antonio, slowly becoming a YouTube sensation. Coincidentally enough, his single “Say You’re Just a Friend” features Flo Rida, an artist from Miami.
Johnny Bush – Another country musician who began his career in San Antonio, Johnny Bush is credited for writing “Whiskey River,” now Willie Nelson’s signature song, in 1972. The track was a highlight of a prolific 1970s for Bush.
Pat Green – Born in San Antonio, this veteran artist has been active in the country sphere for nearly two decades, with hits including “Wave on Wave,” “Let Me” and “Feels Just Like It Should.”
Michael Morales – The San Antonio-born pop/rock artist scored a breakout in 1989 with his single “Who Do You Give Your Love To?,” which peaked at No. 15 on the Hot 100 chart and was one of his four charting hits.
One of the most successful Latin performers of all time, the Cuban-born Estefan began her multi-platinum career after relocating to Miami as a child. “Don’t Wanna Lose You,” “Conga” and “Get On Your Feet” are only a few of the dozens of hits the 55-year-old has collected during her career.
Rick Ross – Since establishing himself as a major hip-hop force with his debut “Port of Miami,” Ross has become a boss within the genre as the head of the Maybach Music Group imprint and author of hits like “B.M.F.,” “Aston Martin Music” and, of course, “Hustlin’.”
From his humble beginnings on his debut “M.I.A.M.I.” (which stands for “Money Is A Major Issue”), Pitbull has morphed into an international star thanks to Latin-inflected pop hits like “Give Me Everything,” “Don’t Stop the Party” and “Feel This Moment.”
Steve Aoki – Born in Miami, the electronica star and Dim Mak Records founder has held an authoritative presence during the recent EDM boom thanks to killer remixes and singles with Afrojack, LMFAO and Lil Jon.
Sean Kingston – The Jamaican-pop star was born in Miami in 1990, and 17 years later, scored a massive hit with “Beautiful Girls,” which interpolated Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” He’s currently prepping a new album for Epic Records.
The pop singer burst on the scene with a No. 1 single, the Imogen Heap-sampling “Whatcha Say,” after growing up in Miami. Since then, he’s scored hits like “In My Head” and “Don’t Wanna Go Home”; his latest radio release, “The Other Side,” has previewed his forthcoming third album.
Trick Daddy – Maurice Young, better known as Trick Daddy, is a self-admitted thug, with album titles like “Thugs Are Us,” “Thug Holiday, “Back By Thug Demand” and “Finally Famous: Born a Thug, Still a Thug.” He’s also responsible for a handful of incredible rap singles, including “Take It to Da House,” “Let’s Go” and “I’m A Thug.”
2 Live Crew– The album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” (and the surrounding controversy) defined this sexually charged hip-hop group. Although the Miami collective never repeated the success of “Me So Horny,” their place in the genre’s history is secure.