Miami Heat superstar LeBron James has proven his mastery of the NBA time and time again, from his statistical dominance to his recent excellent performances in the pressure-filled postseason. It sometimes seems that there is nothing James can't do on the court. Whether it involves guarding a point guard, throwing a skip pass to an open shooter, or scoring himself, LeBron will do it well.
LeBron's success on the court has always gone together with a desire to assert himself in other areas of celebrity. Now that he carries the glow of championship basketball, those other forays into the world of entertainment might become a little more possible, as well as widely accepted.
So, it appears that James is working on at least one track of rapping. In two short videos posted to Instagram on Tuesday, LeBron showed off his flow over the beat from Jay-Z and Kanye West's "N----- in Paris" (NSFW language) off their "Watch the Throne" album. Listen for yourself after the jump (via For The Win).
First, here's LeBron introducing himself as "the kid King James" and giving a "shout out to the Four Horsemen," which could be a reference I am too uncool to place.
Next, James put up a clip from a verse.
I would never claim to be a particularly knowledgeable critic of an MC's pure skills on the mic, but at the very least LeBron has a nice, coherent flow. He's not mush-mouthed, which would suggest he has a solid base to build upon. (There's probably no use in critiquing his rhymes based on one 14-second clip.)
Although no NBA stars has ascended to the platinum-record heights of Shaquille O'Neal in the '90s, several notable players have tried their hands at rapping in recent years, including Kevin Durant and Stephen Jackson. At the same time, the attitude towards these projects has changed. When Shaq was rapping, it was seen as a distraction from the necessary work of improving his game. Now, though, more fans look at these tracks as the fun side-projects they are. They're creative outlets for complicated people, not barriers to total basketball domination.
It's as yet unclear how far LeBron will take his music career, but this preview suggests it's worth pursuing seriously. Maybe he'll even add himself to the long list of rappers who have referenced LeBron James in their rhymes.
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