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The Return of the Don: A Tupac-Inspired NBA Preview

The NBA and Hip-Hop have been inseparable for years. Allen Iverson brought it mainstream. Jay-Z, Drake, Wale, and DJ Khaled keep it courtside. Shaq, unfortunately, thought they were inherently one and the same. Damian Lillard is proving that they can be.

So in honor of the NBA making the return we’ve all been waiting for, we’re getting a little help from the return we’re all STILL waiting for.

From the Wizard’s best to the NBA’s best, from the mouth of Hip-Hop’s best, here’s your 2016-2017 Tupac Narrated NBA Season Preview:

“All I need in this life of sin, is me and my girlfriend
Down to ride to the bloody end, just me and my girlfriend.”

(‘Me and My Girlfriend’)

To John Wall and his basketball. Once again, the Wizards fortunes are in John Wall’s hands. I don’t care how much you believe in Tomas Satoransky or preseason Kelly Oubre, or whether you believe that Bradley Beal really will stay healthy THIS time. None of it matters without a returning John Wall ready to unleash his vengeance on an increasingly disbelieving, disrespectful world.

That one was for you, Chris Almeida and all you NBA GMs.

John Wall doesn’t care about the noise, but he hears it. And he’s just adding fuel to the internally and eternally burning fire of greatness inside.

Ball is life, and all John Wall needs in life is him and his basketball.

“I got love for my brother, but we can never go nowhere
unless we share with each other / We gotta start makin’ changes.
Learn to see me as a brother ‘stead of two distant strangers”


To John Wall and Bradley Beal. We’ve seen how far John Wall’s greatness can take the Wizards, and it’s just about to the verge of the Eastern Conference Finals. You can’t ask one player to take you much further than that.

So, the five year, 130 million dollar question is, is Bradley Beal that other player?

Beal has shown glimpses of greatness, including a stellar post-season two years ago, and a fiery start to last season, when it looked he was finally making the leap to All-Stardom:

Then came the injuries. Again. And again.

The question has always been, “can Beal stay healthy?” Now with Beal’s new contract, come new questions: Can Beal and Wall co-exist? Are they friends? Do they even get along? Can they at least get along on the court?

John Wall is a proven “alpha.” Bradley Beal is getting “alpha” money.

They’re going to have to share alpha status, or go nowhere.

“Now who’s to say if I was right or wrong?
To live my life as an outlaw all along
Remain strong in this planet full of playa haters
They conversate, but Death Row full of demonstrators.”

(‘Until the End of Time’)

To Kevin Durant. And DC say’s you were wrong!

Rarely has a lovefest turned so sour so fast, and deservedly so. KD turned his back on his hometown city (DC), his home city (OKC), his old coach (Scott Brooks) and his “close friend” Russell Westbrook, to go Championship Chasing in the Bay Area.

And man, did KD embrace the villain role fas?t! First the words: Letting everyone know he did what’s best for him, and that his new team plays basketball on a whole ‘nother level than his old team.

Then, the actions: Letting everyone know humility was no longer on his list of character traits:

KD is turning his back on everything this season!

Our thoughts?

“I heard a rumor I died, murdered in cold blood dramatized
Pictures of me in my final stages, you know mama cried
But that was all fiction, some coward got the story twisted.”

(‘Ain’t Hard 2 Find’)

To LeBron James. The rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated. Remember last winter, when LeBron wasn’t the best player in the league anymore? I honestly don’t remember. Like, I know it happened, but there’s just something blocking that memory from my brain. Something blocking out all that talk of the Steph Curry takeover. Something blocking my memory of his sub-LeBron-standard regular season. I’m not sure quite what it is….


Jeff Van Gundy nailed it. That sh-! was “Superhuman.” LeBron may not be Superhuman every night anymore, but let’s hold off on dethroning him during the regular season this year, OK?

He’s still the best player on the planet, until proven otherwise, and that proof can only come in the playoffs. He knows how to pace himself, knows how to rest, and knows how to win.

Regular season, LeBron posted 25 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.6 blocks.
Superhuman Finals LeBron posted 30-11-9-3-2 against the winningest team in NBA regular season history.

LeBron is still king. For now, anything else is just fiction.

“I’m not a killa, but don’t push me
Revenge is like the sweetest joy next to gettin’ pu–y”

(‘Hail Mary’)

To Steph Curry, who should be hell bent on disproving the entire preceding section. For 82 games last season, Steph was infallible. He was a basketball deity. Rumor has it that his three point stroke could impregnate any woman sitting court side. His sweat could cure acne, and his shoes could cure arthritis.

Then the playoffs happened. Steph wasn’t a killer. He wasn’t the best player in NBA history. He wasn’t even the best player in the NBA. And when the season was over, Steph had no Finals trophy to go with his MVP hardware.

He’s had a full off-season to dwell on that. Let’s see if he’s been pushed to become a killer.

“Keep a vest for protection, from the barrel of a Smith & Wesson
And all my n—-s in the pen, here we go again
Ain’t nothin’ separatin’ us from a Mack-10.”

(‘Nothing to Lose’)

To the Clippers, Rockets, and Raptors, among others, who elected to play it safe, and re-up for another season with the same core guys.

Blake and CP. Lowry and DeRozan. Harden and the Rockettes. Can any of them reach new places with the same faces? We’ll see.

“I heard Brenda’s got a baby, but Brenda’s barely got a brain
A damn shame, the girl can hardly spell her name.”

(‘Brenda’s Got a Baby’)

To the Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trailblazers, Indiana Pacers, and all the young teams aspiring for greatness. And greatness may await.

Karl Anthony Towns has been staggeringly good through the preseason, averaging 20 and 10 in about 20 minutes a game, and doing things like this:

And this:

THAT is surrounded by Andrew Wiggins, Zach Lavine, and a potential Rookie of the Year, Kris Dunn.

The Blazers dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will only get better, and get more help from their growing surroundings. Paul George will have an improved Myles Turner. Utah is intriguing.

More importantly, this verse goes out to, to Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter Jr. and Tomas Satoransky! These guys will be highly relied on to produce on both ends for the Wizards this season, and the preseason signs have been promising. Oubre has been mixing it up on both ends (against LeBron included) and could become a menacing wing defender:

And Satoransky has shown flashes of NBA brilliance, none more gorgeous than this Pick-and-Roll dance:

The Wizards have some gifted babies. If they can grow up quick, the ceiling on this season could raise quickly.

“When I talk about money all you see is the struggle
When I tell you I’m livin’ large, you tell me it’s trouble.”

(‘I Ain’t Mad Atcha’)

To Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, and all the other NBA Rookies with new found wealth:


Don’t do drugs.

Don’t drive 150+ mph, unless it’s at a track.

Don’t frame your first paycheck unless it’s AFTER you’ve finished your mobile ap deposit.

Don’t ever, under any circumstances, take video of your teammates talking about cheating on their significant others and then let it get leaked.

Good luck!

“Dear mama, don’t cry, your baby boy’s doin’ good
Tell the homies I’m in heaven and they ain’t got hoods
Seen a show with Marvin Gaye last night, it had me shook
Drinkin’ Peppermint Schnapps with Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke.”

(‘Thugz Mansion’)

To Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. For the first time in 20 years, these two won’t be NBA basketball players. They will be missed, but never forgotten.


“They say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
I say the darker the flesh, then the deeper the roots.”

(‘Keep Ya Head Up’)

To the San Antonio Spurs, who’s success is rooted far deeper than just Tim Duncan. They still have Kawhi. They still have Pop. Tony Parker and Manu are back for another ride. One day, the Spurs will be mediocre again. One day, they won’t win 50 games. One day, they’ll be in the lottery again. One day, they’ll be insignificant enough to leave out of an NBA season preview. But not today. Not yet.

Now….I know this is a Wizards blog, and don’t get me wrong, our attention will be laser focused on the Wizards all season long. We’ll be watching every game, every off-ball screen, every Gortat hammer and Oubre turnover. We will over analyze every Satoransky play, and parse every Scott Brooks quote. We will shutter every time Beal stumbles, and hold our breath every time he gets up (if he does). We will praise John Wall, defend him, even blindly if needed.

BUT…it would simply be unjust to ourselves and to all our readers not to admit that the greatest NBA subplot this season is not here in the Nation’s Capital. It’s on the West side.

“Grab your glocks when you see Tupac
Call the cops when you see Tupac
Who shot me, but you punks didn’t finish
Now you’re ’bout to feel the wrath of a menace.”

(‘Hit Em Up’)

To Russell Westbrook. This was in his first preseason game.

The NBA is about to feel the wrath of a menace.

30-12-8 a game>

40 triple doubles?


40 point per game?

50 wins?

15 wins?

10 turnovers a game?

1,000 death stares?

Will he go out of his way to dunk on KD?

Will he break a backboard?

Will he break his own hand?

Will his face get permanently locked in a scowl?

Everything is on the table. Brace yourself.

And yet, Russ is still just the subplot of the NBA’s West Side Story:

“You motherf’ers can’t be us or see us
We the motherf’n Thug Life ridahs West side till we die!
Out here in California we warn ya we’ll bomb on you motherf’ers
We do our job
You think you mob, nigga we the motherf’n mob!”
(‘Hit Em Up’)

To the Golden State Warriors, who will literally be bombing away from long range like the world has never seen before. The Warriors with Harrison Barnes won 73 games, and were a Harrison Barnes made basket or two away from winning the NBA Championship. And the Warriors replaced Harrison Barnes with mother F’ing Kevin Durant!

There will be no show in the NBA quite like the Warriors, and probably never has been. Some teams throw no-look passes. These guys throw no-look shots. Every team outside of Illinois spaces the floor to the three point line. These guys space the floor to 35 feet. Some teams have great three point shooters. These guys have two of the best of All-time, AND Kevin Durant.

Lock in, folks.

The Wizards are back. The NBA is back.

Let’s get it poppin’

we are Hoop District

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