Today is the third anniversary of the death of the one of the most charismatic rappers in hip-hop history. Ol' Dirty Bastard of the Wu-Tang Clan was a hero of mine, an inspiration who stuck it to The Man and lived life on his terms. Ol' Dirty didn't make much sense with his off-beat rhymes and sing-song drunken ramblings, but in an age of overproduction and cookie-cutter YouTube hip-hop dance songs, the surviving work of Mr. Russell Jones serves as a beacon of originality, a lighthouse on a coast of commercialism.
So in honor of the rhymes and times of Ol' Dirt McGirt, I've hand-picked five of his lyrics, spread out over his catalog, and applied them to persons of NBA significance. Enjoy.
"My advantage on the M-I-C is the slang/ That I manifest so you could never hang / Obviously you know my name by now/ I done thrown stupid parties all through your town" - "Goin' Down", Return to the 36 Chambers (1995)
Only one NBA player seemingly invents his own slang and throws the most stupid parties. The same player who lives in his own hyperbolic chamber and cheats at Halo - the one, the only Gilbert Arenas. Arenas has many NBA fans, especially bloggers, sprung on his every word and will assuredly use that advantage come the All-Star election.
"The things that you learnt in class is trash / You can't do nothin' wit' it, I put you in the past" - "Caught Up", The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones (2002)
The NBA has definitely been rough for 2006 NCAA leading scorers JJ Redick and Adam Morrison. Last year both struggled to adjust their game to the NBA level, with Redick battling injuries and Morrison becoming a punchline on defense. This year, it is Morrison who is hurt and Redick is again struggling, scoring only two points all season.
"Screwface ya bitches put food on y'all / He won't slip, won't trip, won't ever fall / Bitch you better obey me, better not betray me" - "I Want P**sy", N*gga Please (1999)
Only one man in the NBA is more untouchable than Elliot Ness. The man with the Teflon rep and the smooth smile. The Billy Dee Williams of the NBA, Isiah Thomas. Although the Knicks have clawed their way to mediocrity of late, Thomas's reverse Midas Touch and ability to weasel out of a possibly career-ending sexual harassment suit and still keep his job will soon be the stuff of legend.
"Crews be actin like they gangs, anyway / Be like, "Warriors! Come out and playiyay!" / Burn me, I get into shit, I let it out like diarrhea / Got burnt once, but that was only gonorrhea" - "Shame on a N*gga", Enter the Wu-Tang (1992)
With the Warriors struggling out the gate and the Mavericks accounting for one of their losses already, you know Dirk Nowitzki is salivating like Pavlov's dogs at the chance to get his revenge for last year's playoffs. Supposedly, Nowitzki took a few weeks off of basketball this summer to recharge. Don't be surprised to see that his offtime pays off come playoff time and he looks like a man on a mission. Nowitzki isn't looking to get burnt twice.
"I don't know how you all see it, but when it comes to the children, Wu-Tang is for the children. We teach the children." - the 1998 Grammy Awards
For all of Ol' Dirty's legal entanglements, his drug possessions, and his general disregard for the rules of society, there is one moment that showed the true nature and giving personality of Mr. Russell Jones. In February 1998, ODB helped save the life of a 4-year old girl trapped in a car wreck outside of his recording studio. This action allowed the girl to get into the care of hospital personnel much quicker.
Like Ol' Dirty Bastard, Ron Artest's NBA career has been marked with constant conflict. Like ODB, detractors of Ron Artest feel his inclusion in the league sets a bad example for the youth. However, this summer, Artest participated in a trip to Kenya to help feed underprivileged children in sub-Saharan Africa. Whether or not this proves to be an epiphany in Artest's life has yet to be seen, but it does show Artest too is for the children.
So R.I.P. to the ODB. There will never be another.