When it comes to ball-playing artists who don’t actually suck, the NBA is 1 for 100. Basketball and rap music are so closely related that many ballers feel they can rap, and many rappers feel they can ball.
Now, it is cute when you rap to yourself in the shower or when you play half-court on Saturday with your home boys, but when you want to do things professionally, pardon the pun but that’s a different ball game. That’s why pro-ballers who can also hold their own in the vocal booth are a dime a dozen. They are called rapletes, Shaquille O’Neal is by far the most successful, he got a platinum certification for his debut, Shaq Diesel, and a gold certification for his follow-up, Shaq Fu: Da Return. Shaq is also the only NBA player to have signed a recording contract with a major.
There are other rapletes worth 3 or 4 minutes of your listening time, guys like Damian Lillard, Iman Shumpert and Chris Webber, but they are few and far between. If it is hard to find ballers that rap good, then it’s even twice as hard to find ballers that sing good. Enter Victor Oladipo, the Indiana Pacer’s new guard, who aims to be the dopest singer from the NBA you’ll ever listen to.
According to Victor:
Ain’t too many NBA players who are actually really good at singing. There’s a lot of rappers, but not too many singers. I think it could be something special.
Victor recently launched his career officially with the release of his debut single “Song For You,” a cover of Donny Hathaway’s original.
And listen to the original version of the song below:
Victor was born and raised in Maryland, USA to a Nigerian-immigrant mother and a father who’s a native of Sierra Leone. Victor has a twin sister who is a whole foot shorter than he is.
On the court, Victor is a shooting guard who is also capable of playing point guard. He has averaged a healthy 15.9 points in his career, with 4.4 rebound. He is especially known for entertaining fans with exciting dunks but it’s obvious the 25-year old is gifted with more than strong hands and a good spring – the boy can hold a note too. All of Victor’s 6 ft 4″ frame is dipped in old school R&B but he cites more recent stalwarts of the culture like Jamie Foxx, Dru Hill and the embattled R. Kelly as major inspirations.
Basketball is his first love but singing isn’t too far behind. The pro-baller initially got involved in singing when his Nigerian mom made him join the choir in their local church in Maryland, but he kept on singing for the same reason so many of us got into basketball in secondary school: girls. Victor says, till this day, he gets as much attention from the ladies for his singing skills as he does for his basketball skills. He shared all this and more in a Breakfast Club interview.
Even though this year will be his 5th in the league, the past few months have been particularly eventful for Victor Oladipo. In the off season, the Oklahoma Thunder shipped him to the Pacers in a deal that sent Paul George the other way. And now he has launched what seems to be a promising career as an R&B singer on the side.
Victor says we can expect a full EP in a few months, while he aims to become the go-to guy on the Pacers team this season. If he can combine the two, the NBA could have a successful singer, to go with the 1 or 2 rapletes that have actually made it.