Are you there, Shaq? It’s me, John.
Ivan Johnson and the Return of NBA Hip Hop
Anybody who is aware of sports knows that basketball and hip hop go together like tea and honey, like a hug and a cold day, like a warm sweater and a good book. Except this relationship is way more violent than those things.
In an attempt to quash baggy pants, do-rags, and oversized G-Unit t-shirts, (remember those?)—otherwise known as “Allen Iverson”—NBA commissioner David Stern implemented a dress code ten years ago. “Wear a collar or face punishment,” he said, resembling my Dad before my first day of work placement.
Since then, professional basketball players off the court remind me of caged prisoners. In December, Lebron James showed up on the sideline wearing white pants and a grey suit jacket, and tried to pass it off as “fashion.” Groan.
Then, like a saviour from on high, the Atlanta Hawks bench gave us Ivan Johnson.
A 27-year-old rookie, (you’ll know why shortly), Johnson is the answer to everything David Stern tried to kill off. To be blunt, he’s badass. Let’s break down why.
Johnson, who scored 13 of his 15 career points in a triple-overtime game against the Miami Heat in early January, spent four years at four different colleges playing ball.
With prestigious school names like Cal State San Bernardino and Oregon, it’s no wonder he was undrafted and promptly shipped off to play in South Korea. How did he end up back stateside?
He was banned for life. The kicker? Nobody knows why. He just got kicked out of South Korea. Awesome.
After picking up a roster spot in the NBA’s developmental league, Johnson reminded people of how cool he is when he picked up five technical fouls, and an ejection in his first nine games. Johnson also has a diamond grill and has no problem wearing it during games. Imagine seeing a 6’9” guy coming at you with a diamond grill. You’d probably get out of the way.
Before reading the following conclusion, I encourage everyone to pull out your laptop, smartphone, or that free tablet that you got for buying your kids smartphones on the Rogers network. Look up Ivan Johnson. Look at his face, and you’ll know why hip hop is officially back in the NBA.
The best part is, what’s a little old man like David Stern going to say?
Nothing. So dust off your G-Unit gear, twenty-somethings. Hip hop has returneth to the game of basketball.