NBA Name-Drop: Nipsey Hussle’s Love for Lakers Legend on ‘Blue Laces 2’
The NBA, hip-hop and Los Angeles communities are all still mourning the tragic murder of Nipsey Hussle. The 33-year-old rapper, entrepreneur and activist was gunned down in front of his The Marathon Clothing boutique in South LA on March 31, sparking an outpouring of emotions across social media.
During his life, the artist born Ermias Asghedom was an avid basketball fan. And though he was known to attend games for and mingle with the Los Angeles Clippers, Nipsey offered his most fervent support to the Los Angeles Lakers.
And not just during trips to Staples Center. While Nipsey’s music is hardly riddled with NBA references, those he made were typically reserved for the purple and gold. Among the most notable was his shoutout to the late Wilt Chamberlain on “Blue Laces 2” from Victory Lap, Nipsey’s first and only album released on a major label:
Mogul and they know that, logo on my floor mat
Courtside, Chamberlain throwback match my Rolex
There’s nothing particularly opaque about Nipsey’s name-drop here. He’s clearly referring to the No. 13 Chamberlain replica jersey he was known to wear while watching Lakers games from sideline seats, and the extent to which the color scheme of his expensive watch paired well with those purple-and-gold threads.
Beyond that mention of “The Big Dipper,” the song itself unwittingly became an ode of sorts to the Lakers, months after Victory Lap’s release in February 2018. As Nipsey explained to NPR, “Blue Laces 2” was inspired, in large part, by LeBron James:
LeBron James, when he won that first championship, they got footage of him on YouTube in the locker room before the game started, and he was playing a song in his headphones. When he took his headphones off, I got the song blast through the headphones and it was "Blue Laces" off the original Marathon. I was real flattered. So I'm, like, I wanna make a "Blue Laces 2" on Victory Lap.
Fans of Nipsey’s work, then, can thank LeBron for a song sequel that will help to cement the legacy of a rapper and community pillar who was taken from this world far too soon.
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.