Inside The NBA, Hip Hop Weekly Style …
“The city is under new management,” Jay-Z tweeted after the Nets defeated the NY Knicks on Monday, November 26th. Of course he was hinting that the BK franchise had officially become the city’s official team. Crazy thought. Even crazier because I touched on that very subject a few days earlier during an interview with Inside the NBA‘s Kenny Smith. Smith’s a former hooper and lifelong Queens repper, so it was cool to get his perspective on things.
Here a few excerpts from our convo, but catch the full feature in the next issue of HHW, on newsstands nationwide Dec. 4.
HHW: First off, happy holidays. I hope you got a couple good plates in for Thanksgiving.
KENNY: Thanks, man. Yeah everything went well. It was great, how about you?
HHW: Everything was good, thanks for asking. Being that you’re a former Rocket, I’ve got to get your opinion on Houston’s squad. What do you think about Jeremy Lin and Harden joining the team and Daryl Morey as GM?
KENNY: I think it’s a good direction. Harden was the missing piece and it solidifies their back court. Lin and Harden are recruiting agents, so to speak. People don’t mind playing with those two guys, you know? Where before, they were a good team and worked hard, but if I’m a free agent or draft pick, why do I really want to come here? I think now they’ve given the Rockets a destination location.
HHW: The Rockets still have money for another big budget acquisition. I’m thinking Josh Smith or Al Jefferson. Who do you think would be the better fit of the two?
KENNY: It’s tough to comment on things like that, only because of the present teams that they’re at. Obviously they’re gonna need some more interior play, but you can do that through trading, as you’ve seen the Lakers have done. The NBA landscape is different, so you don’t have to look only at the two guys that are available just because you have the money. The fact that you have the money allows you to do other things. If I was general manager, my options would be all over the place because I have the opportunity to do it … [if] all of a sudden Miami loses in the first round, Chris Bosh might be available … Amare Stoudemire might be available. So you gotta look and see what happens to teams and how well they do. Guys fall in and out of grace really quickly in the NBA.
HHW: Were NBA rivalries more exciting in the 90s or now?
KENNY: I would probably say the 90s only because they were … consistent. Meaning you didn’t see players change teams. You didn’t see Minnesota with Kevin Garnett and then you see him with the Celtics. You didn’t see Ray Allen with the Celtics and then see him with the Heat. The rivalries stayed consistent because the players were consistent.
HHW: So you’re from Queens. With Jay-Z being such an influential guy and campaigning hard for the team, do you see them becoming more popular with New Yorkers than the Knicks in the next few years?
KENNY: You know what, I really believe the Nets have a chance. It’s not like the Lakers and the Clippers. In LA, the Clippers have no chance of ever overtaking the Lakers. We live in LA, my son doesn’t know the Knicks as a great franchise. He’s 16. For the last 12 years, they’ve either been not making the playoffs or first-round elimination. He doesn’t understand the history of New York Knicks basketball, and there’s a bunch of kids in New York that don’t know the Knicks as a great team. If the Nets have a great team, they have an opportunity to overtake the Knicks and be New York’s team.
HHW: Did you get a chance to see T.I. sit in as a guest commentator at the Hawks vs Heats game?
KENNY: Oh really? I didn’t get a chance to see that.
HHW: Yeah, he sat in and did a great job. Who are two rappers you think would make great announcers?
KENNY: You know what? I think Game would be a good announcer. He knows the game, I’ve heard him talk basketball before. He follows the game.
HHW: Wale knows the game, too …
KENNY: See I never talked to Wale about ball, I spoke to Wale and he knows the game, but I never talked to him about ball. You know who knows ball? Cam’ron knows ball.