#8: Drake, “Jumpman” - “I hit that Ginobili with my left hand up like woo!”
Another fun song and one of the most well-known songs on this list. "Jumpman" was on What a Time to be Alive, which peaked at number one on the charts. Drake is known as a Toronto Raptors fan, but I guess he wanted to shout out Manu Ginobili in a track.
What I really enjoy about this is the commercial success plus the absolute absurdity of it all. Drake did not need to find a rhyme and settled on Ginobili -- he opted to include him for no particular reason, which brings me great joy.
#7: The Underachievers, “Cyclones” - “I represent consistency like I’m playing for the Spurs”
The Underachievers are a hip-hop duo that was active for a few years in the 2010s and found some degree of commercial success. They are by far the most obscure artist on the list, so don’t feel bad if this is the first time you’ve heard of them.
When they dropped this line in 2018, the Spurs' dynasty was starting to crumble, but it was still going. Both of the members of this duo are 30 now, so when they wrote the song, it’s reasonable to expect that all they could remember was the Spurs being good, and I respect the callout.
#6: Drake, “Charged Up” - "I get a ring and I bring it home like I'm Cory Jo"
A diss track aimed at Meek Mill, it should have drawn a lot more attention than it did. Sure, rap fans fawned over it as a direct shot in an ongoing beef, but who cares about that? I’m more interested in shouting out Cory Joseph, which is quite the deep cut.
This song was released in the summer of 2015. At the time, Joseph was in his fourth season and won a ring with the Spurs. He had averaged a cool five points in 15 minutes throughout his career at this point, and anyone outside of his hometown or San Antonio probably did not know who he was. In the 2014 playoff run, Joseph hardly played. But, as a Toronto native, Drake was surely aware of who he was.
He was the fourth Canadian to ever win an NBA title and is currently the captain of the Canadian basketball team, but for one summer in 2015, Drake had the whole world hearing his name.
#5: Rick Ross, “Billionaire” - “In the game like Tony Parker, snow white Range let my partner park it”
Not the best shoutout at all, to be honest. In fact, in terms of lyricism, this might be the worst one so far. That being said, this song came out nine months after Tony Parker won Finals MVP in 2007, and he was in the middle of the peak of his career.
Unlike Manu’s drop in "Jumpman", I suspect Ross included Parker just because “Parker” sounds good with “partner park it.” To his credit, TP lived the most hip-hop lifestyle of any of the Big Three. He was a known womanizer, a bit of a playboy, and a budding rapper himself, so Rick Ross edges out the Ginobili mention.