I’m back like a rebel causing trouble, an assassin kicking ass on the double. And there’s not a muthafucka alive that’s gonna stop me, so fuck you and your punk ass posse.
Basketball and hip-hop go together like PB&J. No player/artist comparison displays that better than the astounding careers of Allen Iverson and DMX.
You’ve probably never thought about how similar the two are.
- Both are great among stiff competition
- Careers blew up in 1998
- Both could’ve been so much more of not for personal demons
In the 90’s hip-hop and basketball had finally surpassed their older counterparts like rock, football and baseball, in the cool department with the teen demographic. Hip-hop was our religion and the court was church. The Source and SLAM magazines were holy books. You were shunned if you didn’t know who was on the McDonald’s all-star team or the latest hip hop quotable.
I first heard DMX on the underground classic ‘Time’s Up’ by Mic Geronimo. He was featured on the song along with Jay Z and Ja Rule. Of course it was a banger, but I didn’t hear anything special in him.
When 2Pac and Biggie were tragically taken away it left a giant hole in the game. A lot of fans were like ‘OH SHIT, WHAT WE GONE DO NOW?!’ Sure things survived, but the only people moving units was Em, Pimp Juice and Jay. Dope as they may be, they just didn’t have the ruggedness or sincerity of 2Pac. They could make hits just nothing that touched the soul.
There were more Pac pretenders than contenders. Take ya pick from Lil Zane to Lil Wayne with more bandanas than shirts and more tattoos than talent. Then there was X.
‘Stay out dark/ Cause if I catch you when the sun is down/ run it clown…’
4, 3, 2, 1 came with four lyrical titans, Red and Mef, Canibus, LL and DARK MAN X. Everybody on that song was fire. It’s probably better known for the Canibus and LL beef, ok it’s only known for that, but for most people that was their first time hearing DMX. The others spoke about their skills and metaphorically hurting you, but not X, he said he was gonna rob you if he saw you once it got dark and you believed him. He went on to release two highly aggressive singles that had everybody barking.
Allen Iverson came in like a whirlwind breaking the ankles of guards and disrespectfully dunking on centers. Like X he was featured on a hood classic that was Georgetown University with the great John Thompson and the not so great Othello Harrington. At the time Othello was the highest rated high school player of all time and was recruited to be the next great big man from Georgetown, but ended up being just alright. Harrington had a nice left hand, but came to the Rockets and wasn’t shit, but I digress. The Hoyas had recently added a kente cloth-like pattern to the jerseys and by the power of Alonzo Mourning they were cool again.
Allen Iverson was the first guard to be given the green light and boy did he use it. At first he played to the beat of Elder Thompson’s drum then in year three… RELEASE THE KRAKEN! The loss to North Carolina must’ve made John take it to streets and let little Allen takeover. When they got to the dance Hoyas were the sexy pick to win it all. They spanked the first round opponent, but it was their second round foe, The Texas Tech Red Raiders, where it got personal.
I’ve been posterized once in my life and it was by Gracen Avril, an all American McDonald all-star. You don’t know the amount of joy I felt as Bubba Chuck just destroyed him and the Red Raiders. Every time he scored on him it felt like I scored. The most memorable moment was in the final minutes of the game. The camera panned to the sideline and caught none other than Gracen Avril crying like a baby. I know I’m being Petty Riley, but it was at that very moment Iverson became my favorite player.
It wasn’t until 1998 when these two guys really took over. Allen Iverson fresh off shaking the shit out of Jordan, won the first of his three straight scoring titles and made cornrows and tattoos a prerequisite for urban basketballers. DMX dropped his first of three platinum records with two in ‘98 alone becoming the first hip hop artist to do so. It looked as if both guys were primed to take over the game only to be out shined by their more business minded monsters with clear cut plans for greatness, Kobe and Jay Z.
DRUGS AND ALCOHOL HAVE RUINED MY LIFE…
Addiction: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)
: an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something.
Both of these greats suffered tremendous losses and setbacks because of addiction. I would be here all day trying to document and recount each crazy ass headline involving these two but fuck it. DMX once slept under a table at a charity event for underprivileged kids due to “exhaustion” and no matter what Bubba-Chuck momma said the rumors of him being drunk with a pistol dragging his woman, who may or may not had on clothes, down the street never quite went away.
For all the money they made they both were constantly dogged by rumors of being broke and close to rock bottom, but who knows? We talking about some game dogs that we loved for their pride, the giant size chips on their shoulders and the size of the fight in them. It’s been said that Allen has a mean nest egg he has to live to 65 before he can touch. He’s also doing something with Ice Cube so there is hope yet. DMX on the other hand looks pretty bad. He’s become the crackhead uncle of hip-hop. I have faith that he’ll come around and shock us with that Rudolph the red nose reindeer Christmas album. As for Gracen Avril. He’s a productive member of society and a great father. Currently training his young son to dunk on some words writing ass nigga like me.
Peace and harmony, Rivers