Rap music and basketball go hand in hand together. You can see many connections in these two professions on several cultural levels, and for the most part, it has been that like that forever.
But there was a story that happened in 1992, and it involved two of the greatest stars of that time in their respective fields. Michael Jordan was asserted as the next big thing and the best player in the NBA, while on the other hand, you had a rising rap artist Tupac Shakur who was already well recognized.
Tupac was a great rapper, but he was also a very vocal and influential leader who raised many social topics in the first row. His activism was well established even at an early age. He was especially furious about other wealthy and influential African American community members who didn’t want to present themselves as role models to other inner-city kids.
At that time, MJ was the most influential athlete globally and was criticized by Tupac that he doesn’t do much for the African American community.
“You know Michael Jordan? I never saw Michael Jordan in the ‘hood. Let’s see Jordan come down to the inner city, just a parking lot, and just shoot the ball with the kids. I bet you that would change their life. Instead of going to some suburban PAL unit, shooting the ball.”Tupac, via MTV
Tupas also reflected on his childhood, where he says he didn’t have many role models growing up who could show him how to play basketball, and he thinks that is the main problem many kids still face.
What about the ones that [have] only one basketball court in the whole neighborhood and don’t anybody — I still don’t know how to play basketball to this day, ’cause instead of somebody teaching me, everybody used to laugh at me. And instead of me staying there being like, “Teach me! Teach me!” I just learned to be like “F— it. I won’t learn.” And that’s real. I know nothing about sports because I had no kind of role model to teach me.Tupac, via MTV
In the meantime, Jordan was often criticized for not doing more for the community even though there were multiple occasions where he showed up and donated substantial financial amounts to various causes. His actions spoke more than words and helped diverse communities by delivering projects that will impact people’s lives on a larger scale. That is one reason why he is so respected today more than he was in the early ’90s when 2Pac made his statements about him.