When we think of NBA athletes and music, the connection tends to be with hip-hop. Several high profile rap stars have made it their business to be seen around the league, players’ names come up in songs, and a handful of NBA players, from All-NBA guard Damian Lillard to newly drafted rookie Marvin Bagley III, rap on the side. Reggae is more of an afterthought. The only prominent example of a connection we can think of is Bahamas-born Kings guard Buddy Hield preaching both for his personal taste and for helping him get in the zone on the court. Hield’s thoughts on the subject are actually pretty interesting to read, but they don’t really speak to a broader connection, nor to any link to Los Angeles.
As it so happens, basketball is about to be the biggest thing in Los Angeles culture again. This hasn’t been the case for several years now, and the Lakers haven’t been truly competitive in nearly a decade. But following LeBron James’s move to LA, the Lakers are suddenly in the spotlight again - not title favorites, but moving up in the odds, and with potential to improve more. “Showtime” is back, which means LA is about to be all basketball all the time. And while it’s a long shot, there’s at least a tiny chance this latest iteration of the Lakers could just have LA embracing reggae on its way to title contention.
How would that happen? Again, it’s a long shot, but we’re keeping an eye on Lonzo Ball, dynamic point guard heading into his second year, who looks at least for now like a part of this team’s future. Ball is known for an unorthodox taste in music, for an NBA player, having been filmed listening to the Grateful Dead at a shootout. This could just be a byproduct of the Lakers being coached by Luke Walton, whose father, the legendary player Bill Walton, is known to be a “deadhead.” But it also displays some openness to genres we never think about in connection to NBA players. And it just so happens that Ball is also among the aforementioned NBA players who dabble in rap on the side.
Ball actually has some skill behind the microphone, and this is where the reggae link could conceivably come in. Because LA is a land of celebrity and Ball now moves in those circles, people have spent time thinking of different artists he could collaborate with, and Snoop Dogg is at the top of the list. While primarily a rapper/actor, Snoop has dipped his toes into reggae before, and he’s now a major LA celebrity with a particular interest in the sports scene. It would be a stretch to claim at random that this collaboration is likely, but it may be more likely than some other options.
Whether or not the two got into reggae together at all would be anyone’s guess. But because Lonzo Ball has his own fan base to be concerned with, and it includes kids, one would imagine the two would opt for some fairly tame tunes. And if that meant pairing Snoop’s half-decent reggae chops with Ball’s budding rap talent, it could translate to the point guard for the new-look LA Lakers putting out a reggae track just as the team is becoming the biggest thing in town once more.
It’s a stretch, but you can connect the dots and see your way to wondering if it’ll happen. And if it did, it would be one of the bigger things the genre could experience in LA.