Back from the All-Star break with an open night on the calendar before kicking off the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers, several New York Knicks hung out with season ticket holders Tuesday night at a "season subscriber forum" held at the Lower East Side restaurant Capitale. As part of the evening's entertainment, guards Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert were asked to show off their musical talents while teammates Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Jeremy Lin and Jared Jeffries watched.
The results, captured by a fan in attendance and shown above, were pretty great.
Fields, whose past performance of "Human Nature" should really be the stuff of legend, kicks things off like all other people who enjoy performing tend to — he feigns embarrassment at being asked to do so, then offers faux-grudging assent to the request ("I can't believe I'm doing this right now"). The groundwork laid, Fields launches into a slightly tweaked version of the hook that Bruno Mars sang on Travie McCoy's 2010 single "Billionaire," taking the focus away from stacking paper and putting it on the importance of winning a ring, which is a very Landry thing to do, all things considered.
And he's pretty good! I mean, I am no Christina Aguilera from "The Voice" or Blake Shelton from "The Voice," but Fields performs a passable Bruno Mars impersonation, which is just the ticket for pleasing a crowd of adoring fans with roughly 60 seconds of singing. Here's what Landry sang:
"I want to be a champion so frickin' bad
Buy all of the the things I never had
I want to be on the cover of SLAM magazine
Smiling next to 'Melo and Amar'e
But every time I close my eyes
I see my name in shining lights
A different city every night, oh, I swear
The room better prepare
For when the Knicks win that hardware"
I mean, the people in that room probably don't have to prepare for the hardware-winning right away. The Knicks are a game under .500, tied for the seventh seed in the East and very much in danger of playing either the Miami Heat or the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs (or, really, missing the postseason altogether). But still, the idea is very nice and the execution was strong. I would text in my vote to keep him out of the bottom three, if that is still how every reality competition works.
Fields' vocal performance elicited not only a "LAN-DRY" chant from the ticket holders in attendance, but also a very fun and appropriate "Coming to America" reference from Shumpert. The ability to quickly allude to Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate is the sort of thing that doesn't show up in box scores — well, it's rumored to be in a top-secret proprietary one that Mark Cuban has been developing for the last seven years, although no one's ever seen that — but it can be the difference between just wanting to be a champion so frickin' bad and actually being a champion so frickin' bad.
Then, it was Shumpert's turn. Like Fields, Shumpert's no stranger to the mic — check out his work as "DaBeau," if you'd like — which is probably why he seemed so comfortable waving off the offer of a background beatbox like it was a halfhearted 'Melo screen. Instead, the Georgia Tech product elected to go in alone:
"Well, I done waited 21 of these for this moment
To snatch the luxury whip without the tints on it
And not worry about what I spent on it
And give the beautiful black woman that done created me a big kiss good morning
I'm in a position I always thought I'd be in
I'm home on the hardwood, Team No Sleeping
Big dream, Broadway
Born in [?] with the tools to excite every square foot in that Garden
Dressed like I'm eating, working like I'm starving
They swingin' but they missin', like the back of milk cartons
You talk the tough talk, you want these problems?
Don't respect what you airin' unless your last name Rodgers
Headed to the top, the wick's lit on my rocket
They know I'm good for it, I ain't trippin' off the wallet
Perform like every day is your last and you'll prosper
Until my heart bust, I won't let 'em stop me"
(I'm guessing the "Born in" line was a reference to Shumpert's hometown of Oak Park, Ill., but considering it sounded more like he said "Old Pitlin," which Internet searches inform me is not a thing, I reluctantly give myself an incomplete here.)
Again, pretty good! Of course, I don't necessarily believe Shump kicked that off the dome, but considering like 99 percent of rappers' freestyles these days were written on a BlackBerry two years before they ever get vocalized, it's hard to get too mad at him for that. Plus, he emphasized what Knicks fans have come to enjoy about his style and aura — confidence, relentlessness and striving. And he said a nice thing about his mom. Bonuses all around.
Special shoutout to whichever Knick threw out a couple of Rick Ross grunts before Shump began to spit (right around the 1:56 mark). It's just a shame that the Georgia Tech rookie didn't adopt Rozay's husky flow and persona; I think we can all agree that what the world needs now is Iman Shumpert rocking a piece of Iman Shumpert rocking an Iman Shumpert piece.
Video via lse218.
- New York Knicks