Here is Part 3 of All 30 NBA Teams As Drake Songs:
This song, featuring PartyNextDoor, is pretty much Drake's Miami anthem. For Heat/LeBron haters, the line, "Doing is one thing, doing it right is a whole different story," should hit home. Let's see if Miami can win without a super team. Near the top of the Eastern Conference, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are on track to make a run at LeBron James and the Cavs.
This is not as simple as it may seem. Yes, the Hornets' majority owner is Michael Jordan, the namesake for the Jordan Brand, but more importantly, the lyrics are perfect. "Them boys up to something. They just spent like two or three weeks out of the country." The Hornets traveled to China during the preseason. They subsequently got off to a hot start, peaking at 14-8. Honorable Mention: "10 Bands," for the line, "I get boxes of free Jordan like I play for North Carolina."
When this song came out on Drake's 2010 debut album, Thank Me Later, Nicki Minaj rapped, "We got the Hawks, I ain't talkin' about the Peach State," clarifying she was talking about knives and not the basketball team. Five years later, "Up All Night" fits Atlanta. The repeated chorus, "Man, I love my team," sums up a group that had four All-Stars last year. The Hawks are again in playoff position, despite not having a true superstar.
Dwight Howard's 2012 exit gives Orlando the coveted "Hotline Bling" title. "Ever since I left the city, you, you, you, you and me we just don't get along, you make me feel like I did you wrong, going places where you don't belong, ever since I left the city, you, you got exactly what you asked for." Howard left like he wanted, for L.A. and Houston, where he has had trouble fitting in. Meanwhile, the young Magic, led by Nikola Vucevic, may be better than the Rockets this year.
It was a great run, Randy Wittman. But it has to end. "I know you still think about the times we had" and "I'm just saying you could do better." Wittman took the Wizards to two straight Eastern Conference semifinals, which preserved his job, although he constantly seems to underachieve with his John Wall-Bradley Beal core. The Wizards are struggling this year and it is time for change in D.C.
This fits, but maybe not for long. Carmelo Anthony has a reputation as the most me-first player post-Allen Iverson, which made him a scoring champion with limited team success. However, Anthony is starting to give way to his teammates, as Kristaps Porzingis and Arron Afflalo present legitimate scoring counterparts. Can Melo maintain a level of unselfishness?
"Make Me Proud" is Drake's pump-up song to Nicki Minaj. "I know things get hard, but girl, you got it," he says. The Nets are in a dark place right now. Brooklyn is near the bottom of the standings and has no 2016 lottery pick thanks to the 2013 Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade with the Celtics. "Don't take it too fast," Nets. It is going to be a long rebuilding effort.
A common misconception of "Trophies" is that it is about winning. It is actually about unsung success. "I'm just tryna stay alive and take care of my people and they don't have no award for that. Trophies, trophies." The Celtics have always been a hard-nosed team, and guys like Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger are humbly getting the job done for the franchise that which actually has the most trophies. Also, Brad Stevens is brilliant, but he never plays that up.
Finding a track for the Sixers is incredibly difficult considering most of Drake's songs are about accomplishments. "6 God" has one particular line that defines the Sixers: "Here go another mo'f***er that don't understand the concept of puttin' money first, boy." The 76ers are throwing away their third straight season with a new level of embarrassment. With a new draft pick and cap relief coming (they are still paying Gerald Wallace and JaVale McGee!), help is on the way.
The Raptors deserve the most Toronto of his Toronto songs. In "Know Yourself," Drake, Raptors' global ambassador, is "runnin' through the 6 with [his] woes." He refers to long-time friend Ethan "pushin' a Subaru hatchback" "way before hashtags." "Know Yourself" is a timeline of Drake's rise from and return to Toronto, which is "too turnt up I'll take the fine for that," referring to his recruiting of Kevin Durant. There is a certain Toronto culture, and Raptors fans "know how that should go."
-- Drake must be the lead artist for a song to be considered. That means no "Right Above It" (Lil Wayne), "Tuesday" (ILoveMakonnen), "Blessings" (Big Sean), "Moment 4 Life" (Nicki Minaj), "Poetic Justice" (Kendrick Lamar) or "No New Friends" (DJ Khaled).
-- "Trophies" is an exception to the above rule. Technically, the listed artist is Young Money featuring Drake, but Young Money Entertainment is a label, and Drake is the only rapper on the track. So "Trophies" is eligible.
-- Tracks are matched with NBA teams based on the current state of each franchise. The 76ers would garner a much different choice if this list was made in, say, 1983.
-- The order starts with the Warriors, the current best team in the world, and goes division by division, ending with the Raptors. Drake is a global ambassador for the Raptors, and the team even has a jersey inspired by Drake's OVO brand.
-- If you are reading this, it's probably because you like Drake. Then you know he has more than 30 hits. Not every song could make the cut. It pains me that I could not find a comparison to "10 Bands." "Back to Back" is great, but no current NBA team has earned that title (the Warriors still have a long way to go).
-- Genius (previously Rap Genius) was consulted many times.
-- Have an opinion? Think I was on my worst behavior? Feel free to discuss on Twitter, @JeffEisenband