Humbling Damian Lillard With ‘Goat’ Crown, Shaquille O’Neal Defends Alter Ego Career With 1 Verdict

Published 10/03/2023, 6:30 AM EDT

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A rapper feud is about to break out in NBA circles thanks to DJ Diesel. Shaquille O’Neal has no problem elevating his fellow basketball stars above him for their athletic talents, but there’s one subject he claims to be the GOAT of. Taking jabs at certain NBA stars’ alternate careers, Shaq crowned himself the OG of the convergence of sports and hip-hop. He sounds ready to take on a few dozen disses.

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This comes when ESPN’s latest documentary, The Crossover: 50 Years of Hip Hop and Sports, is celebrating the history of sports and hip-hop. And Shaq earned a prominent place in it along with other basketball stars for paving the way for other athlete-rappers.

Shaquille O’Neal sets the record straight

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In 1992, the NBA was rocked by a monster rookie called Shaquille O’Neal. In 1993, the hip-hop business was blown away by the album, Shaq Diesel, and the NBA pro rapping on it. Several NBA pros have taken the rapper route since. No longer do fans expect them to only keep their eye on the ball. Naturally, there’s a debate about which athlete is also the best rapper.

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To Shaquille O’Neal, the choice is clear. He was on TMZ Sports to say just that. “It’s all competition for me, so when I hear other people that say, ‘I’m a better athlete-rapper than Shaq,’ I gotta step up.”

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He’s stepping up in a big way. Across 19 seasons, DJ Diesel’s music career ran parallel to his Hall of Fame NBA career. He’s collaborated with several icons like Jay-Z and Fat Joe, is a multi-platinum-selling artist having sold over 1.5 million albums over three decades, made a successful foray into EDM, and is still dropping mind-blowing hip-hop collaborations.

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Nothing personal. I just have to let these people know who paved the way. So for me, it’s all fun,” Shaq casually dropped. About the people he’s referring to, he did name a few. To be fair, Shaq admits they’re talented lyricists.

They got a lot of guys that are coming. Dame Lillard‘s really nice. Iman Shumpert can go. Antonio Brown can go. All these guys can go. It’s all about competition.” Nevertheless, he made one thing very clear.

I put stuff out, they put stuff out and we let the people decide who the number one is,” the former Los Angeles Lakers star said. “I know who the number one is. I’ma always say myself is number one, but they got a lot of the guys out there that are coming.”

Damian Lillard and Antonio Brown are only a couple of the many athletes venturing into rap music. Dame, who also goes by his emcee persona, Dame DOLLA, is one of the best athlete-rappers by popular vote. Apart from trending majorly on SoundCloud, he moved many with his single, ‘Kobe’ as a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant in NBA 2K21.

Brown had a feature on a Drake track before dropping his own singles. Iman Shumpert has an entire EP to boast about.

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DJ Diesel’s making waves in the EDM world

Between his day job as an NBA analyst and managing his businesses like Big Chicken, Shaquille O’Neal stays on the music track. He’s done a jaw-dropping transition to electronic music, performing to 80,000 EDM fans in Lost Lands and other festivals.

He dropped his latest collaboration with rap duo, Coyote, and more collaborations to make his presence felt. Shaq’s just putting out a gentle reminder he’s the trendsetter. He’ll make a better point in a rap battle with Dame.

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What are your thoughts on O’Neal’s take? Who do you think is the greatest athlete rapper of all time? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Caroline John

996Articles

One take at a time

Caroline John is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She has been covering athletes outside the sports arena since the start of her reporting career. A writer at heart, she graduated with a degree in journalism from a reputed university.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth

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