#2 – Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq provided people with a question that was impossible to answer: was he a world-class basketball player who doubled as a great entertainer? Or was he a world-class, 7-foot-1-inch entertainer who doubled as a great basketball player? Regardless of the answer, society as a whole was permanently bettered when he released his debut 1993 album Shaq Diesel. A baby-faced 21-year-old in only his second year in the league, Shaq had just taken the league by storm in his rookie year and was on his way to forming one of the league’s most memorable one-two punches with point guard Penny Hardaway. But his true lasting legacy from his Orlando days was his hit single “(I Know I Got) Skillz.”
If that isn’t the most ‘90s music video you’ve ever seen, I’d love to know what could possibly one-up “Skillz.” The song peaked at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, giving Shaq a Rookie of the Year award and a top-40 hit within five months of each other. Shaq Diesel went platinum after selling north of 1 million copies, while “Skillz” went gold by shipping out more than half a million copies alone.
He even came for Damian Lillard in a diss track… which turned out to be unwise.
The three-time NBA Finals MVP and Hall of Famer has released four albums over the course of his career, none of which ever was as big as his star-making debut. The success of Shaq Diesel led to his big screen debut in “Blue Chips” in 1994, before starring in the widely-panned but ultimately-memorable “Kazaam” in 1996. No basketball player has ever been more entertaining or culturally relevant than Shaq, but he can’t quite lock down the #1 spot.
Click ahead to Page 6 to listen to Damian Lillard’s best work that has him at the top of our list of top 5 NBA rappers.