Metal and even hard rock are not the first kinds of music that you think of when it comes to the NBA. Hip hop seems to be more the de facto genre for sports athletes across all major sports – but surely there is always room for some harder music in the world’s elite basketball league?
NBA betting sites will take more notice of points per game and the number of rebounds a player achieves. But we started thinking about how some of the top players over the years could be aligned with some of the biggest bands that we (mostly) love. Here’s what we came up with.
Russell Westbrook is Slayer
We’ll start off with the Lakers point guard who was famously photographed wearing a Slayer t-shirt a few years ago. We know more than anyone that wearing the merchandise doesn’t necessarily mean fandom in any way – but there are a few parallels between Westbrook and the thrash metal band from the 1980s.
Slayer were fast and uncompromising and got straight down to the job at hand, Westbrook’s playing technique is much the same. No overtly fancy stuff here, just drive to the basket and slam dunk the points. The less said about Westbrook’s time at the Lakers the better – but then Slayer had its bad times too.
Steph Curry is Metallica
We know this will be controversial because everyone has their own opinion on who the greatest band is. But if we are looking at record sales and global reach then Metallica will come up pretty high on that list – and Steph Curry is just about the biggest name in the NBA (LeBron who?).
There is little that Curry cannot do on the basketball court and Metallica have also a full and varied catalogue these days. Albums, movies – you name it, Metallica has done it. But what really makes this relationship work for us is that both Curry and Metallica are known outside their immediate fan bases.
Kyrie Irving is The Darkness
Originally we thought of pairing up Kyrie Irving with one of the more controversial metal bands, like Cannibal Corpse or Gorgoroth. Irving has not been shy about his controversial views in the last few years and is seen as something of wild cannon in the NBA right now.
But we like to go a little bit further back in Irving’s infamous announcements – before the conspiracy theories really took over. Remember when he said he couldn’t be sure if the world was flat or round? Pretty ridiculous right? That reminded us of the utter ridiculousness of The Darkness. We love them like we love Kyrie – but you can’t take either of them seriously.
Magic Johnson is Van Halen (in the Dave Lee Roth days)
Everyone loved Magic Johnson. He was the epitome of the showtime era of NBA basketball in the 1980s and did more than most to make the league a huge financial and sporting success. When we think of metal bands that correlated with that kind of image we immediately thought of Van Halen – when Dave Lee Roth was in the band.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credited Van Halen with restoring hard rock to the forefront of the music scene and Magic Johnson did much the same for the Lakers in the 1980s. Roth famously left the band, embarking on a solo career, which we honestly can’t really tally up with Johnson’s career. But we’re still going to go with this one!
Brandon Ingram is any band with a stylish logo
It turns out that linking up NBA players with old metal bands is quite a difficult project. There just isn’t a natural correlation between many in the league and the hard music we love. Brandon Ingram is one player that likes to dress in the look but we have serious doubts about his credentials.
Ingram was an All-Star in his first season with the New Orleans Pelicans and gained a reputation for wearing vintage metal shirts – much like Russell Westbrook above. But he admits that he knows next to nothing about the music and just likes the look and feel of the garments. But maybe he will now take the time to delve into the metal archives once the season ends.