14 Theme Songs For The NBA Draft

  • French Montana - "Ain't Worried About Nothin'"

    Andrew Wiggins

    Wiggins has all the talent in the world–he could be the next great one, or he could not. Questions surround his drive and if he has the mental makeup to take over games and develop a killer instinct like Kobe or Jordan. The same criticism was levelled against a young Tracy McGrady and like a young McGrady, at this stage in his career, Wiggins’ potential is unlimited. He has every reason to be confident.

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  • Charles Bradley - "Why is it so Hard (To make it in America)"

    Jabari Parker

    Charles Bradley overpowers people with his passion, the same way Parker bullies defences with his bulk and strength. Charles Bradley just wants to make music. Parker, a Mormon, wants the focus to be on his game, as it should be, and not his religion. The sad reality is he’s probably going to have to play extremely well, or extremely poorly, for that to happen.

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  • Meek Mill - "Levels"

    Joel Embiid

    There’s a long, sad history of potential-laden centers having their careers derailed by injury. At his worst, Embiid could be the next in line. The center is one of the game’s lost positions. There’s Dwight and Brook Lopez but there’s also Andrew Bynum and Greg Oden, or whatever is left of them. Maybe Embiid will bring some relevance back to the big men, or maybe not.

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  • Gang Starr - "Work"

    Marcus Smart

    Gang Starr were among the most consistent acts in hip-hop during their time, approaching the game with an ideal vision of smart, smooth rhymes and thick beats. Smart has great court vision, he’s a willing playmaker but he’s also capable of putting the ball in the hoop.

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  • 2Pac - "All Eyez On Me"

    Noah Vonleh

    Vonleh won’t even be 19 until August and is already an intriguing mix of coordination and size. He’s still developing a feel for the game and that’s probably the biggest knock against him. It’s easy to get lost in his inexperience and skip over the mobility, shot-blocking, aggressiveness, rebounding and clutch shooting. If he puts it all together, he’s going to be a force.

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  • Mos Def - "Umi Says"

    Dante Exum

    Mos Def constantly delivers in a variety of styles and skills. In “Umi Says” he tells the listener to shine their light for the world to see. Exum is a unique talent–he excels at getting to the basket, finishing with contact and can score with either hand. He hasn’t had the opportunity yet, or the stage, to compete against a high level of competition. He’s about to show us what he can do.

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  • Drake - "All Me"

    Julius Randle

    Randle is an absolute beast on the boards, relentlessly seeking out loose balls and battling in the paint as an undersized power forward. His lack of size and the potential difficulties he’ll face matching up against big forwards make him one of the most polarizing prospects in the draft. He’s built his game on his grit and determination, a self-made man. In “All Me” Drake drops lines about his own self-made status.

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  • Kid Cudi - "Up, Up & Away"

    Aaron Gordon

    Just-Ice explodes on this track, dropping lines like “my rap is intellect with high velocity.” Gordon’s game is built on his energy. One of the most, if the not the most, explosive athletes in the draft. Gordon has consistently displayed the sort of athleticism that puts fans in the seats, while also being considered a high-character guy.

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  • Big L - "Put It On"

    Zach LaVine

    LaVine has another-level type of explosiveness and is one of the most intriguing prospects based on his athleticism. Like most preternatural athletes, he has all the tools but needs to put it all together and improve his basketball IQ. He’s a long-term project but the potential payoff is immense. Big L, gone too soon, had all the traits to be one of the greatest ever and this track, one of his most popular, displays the full arsenal.

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  • Nas - "One Time For Your Mind"

    Nik Stauskas

    Stauskas is a pure shooter with a perfect stroke and never-ending range. His lack of athleticism will limit his ability to create his own shot but even if he ends up being relegated to a spot-up shooter, Stauskas will be money. On this track, Nas is slowed down and subdued, letting his words play off the beat, reminding the listener of his lyrical skill.

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  • Rick Ross - "Made Men"

    Gary Harris

    Harris is going to need to grind it out at the elite level, he’s limited physically and will be undersized almost every night against his opponents. He’s going to have to overcome circumstance with hustle and heart. If he does, he’ll be a made man.

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  • Tribe Called Red - "Look At This"

    Rodney Hood

    Hood can outrun and outlast many of his peers based on his conditioning but he’ll need to get stronger. His game is relentless though, always on the move, leading his defender up and down the court. Tribe Called Red, a Canadian DJ duo that blends traditional First Nations music into contemporary hip-hop, reggae and dubstep make the kind of music that keeps you moving. This track is an example.

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  • Nas - "Halftime"

    Dario Saric

    Nas at his lyrical best, searing through the beat. Saric, at 6-10, is a unique talent. He can push the ball up court in transition or bang in the post. He has a true feel for the game and a point guard’s touch. He’s hampered by his lack of athleticism but his foundation and skill-set is impressive.

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  • Jay Z - "Encore"

    Kyle Anderson

    Anderson is a  6-9 point guard, which means the comparisons to Magic Johnson have already begun. He’s not Magic but his floor vision is among the best in the draft. In Encore, Jay tugs at the past with several band instruments, executing over strings, drums and horns the way only Jay can.

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  • French Montana
  • Charles Bradley
  • Meek Mill
  • Gang Starr
  • 2Pac
  • Mos Def
  • Drake
  • Big L
  • Nas
  • Rick Ross
  • Tribe Called Red
  • Jay Z

This year’s NBA Draft was one of the most anticipated in years, with the top five picks all having the potential to be the sort of talent you can build a franchise around. But, like every year, there’s really no way of telling and it’s basically a crapshoot.

There’s a good mix of international talent, and some intriguing and polarizing prospects. Their talent will deepen and their flaws will either become more apparent or erode as they develop, but, for now, it’s basically a group of supremely gifted and hardworking teenagers that a bunch of old, rich guys are hedging their bets on.

We gave some of them theme songs.