Hip Hop x Basketball -- 6: "Who Can I Trust"

6: “Who Can I Trust?”
     It has been said that when you reach a certain income/exposure level, you can never date a “regular” person – at least not one who didn’t know you before you had anything.
The same is to be said for the people you will have in your circle.
     What remains in application is the exhibited fact that the only person/people you can trust to understand your situation and problems are the ones who have been through similar circumstances themselves.  When, as we have discussed, NBA players and rappers more often than not come up through the same ills we understand the connection that they come to have.  As nothing is ever perfect, we’ve seen even these situations go sour and end ugly – usually just with the loss of a friendship and hopefully not the loss of a friend.  To that ends, the “bosses” of both camps spend major time and resources on educating and guiding them to the building of healthy interpersonal relationships, and even THEN it falls on deaf ears.  They say that money doesn’t change you; so much as it simply makes you more of what you already are.
Many a tale of an epic fall from grace begins with the story of someone who kept enormous entourages from the old neighborhood in lieu of rubbing elbows with just as much to maintain or lose as they had.  The story ends in bankruptcy court and humorous pop culture references almost every time.  The importance in learning from other peoples’ mistakes is shown daily in those who tend to keep small non-professional circles.  This leads often to them spending major social time with teammates or other musicians, respectively.  The alternative, though, is friendships that we often see played out on television, print and even courtside at games.  There’s a reason LeBron James was quickly added to the apparently short people Jay-Z considered as “personal friends,” and it had little to do with any possibility of (at the time) recruitment to play for the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets or the unlikely ending of LeBron one day releasing an album.  It had everything to do with being kindred spirits in the scheme of things, considering the sight of their names on lists that one might see published by the likes of Forbes as well as various gossip outlets.  “Real recognize(s) real,” as they say.
     These allegiances often play out in the oddest of manners, like when one player has aligned themselves with one entertainer and another with a different one.  Mind on competitive fire, one rapper being a fan/friend of a player/team will become just as involved in the back-and-forth trash talk in the heat of battle.  Next thing you know, we hear our favorite ball player speaking in a skit on an album, appearing in a video with middle fingers on display or a song ends up on YouTube denigrating the rapper’s friend’s rival.
     It all boils down to having someone in your corner who understands firsthand what it means to have just as much to lose as you.  The feeling of being really and truly understood is understandably rarified air when one reaches a certain tax bracket.  We’re to understand that this is why many famous people can only date other famous people if they weren’t already linked to someone on their way up the success ladder.  Coming from where a great many rappers and ball players come from, the attraction as friends and acquaintances is very easily fed by this dynamic and is played out right in front of us every time we watch a game, whether we even notice or acknowledge it or not.


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