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Shaquille O'Neal.

The three best NBA stars turned music artists

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On the strength of Victor Oladipo's impressive outing at a Florida water park earlier this summer, it makes one think about the long association that the NBA has held with the music industry.

Oladipo nailed a rendition of R. Kelly's 'I Believe I Can Fly' earlier this summer, and not many superstars around the league want to sing, they want to rap.

As west-coast rapper E-40 once said: "Athletes want to be rappers, and rappers want to be athletes." With that in mind, we look at three of the best to trade the rock for a microphone.

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Spoiler alert: Kobe Bryant does not make the list.

Damian Lillard

Dame Dolla, as he is known to the hip-hop world, has really started to make waves over the past few months after receiving rave reviews for the tracks he has been dropping on SoundCloud.

His popularity in the music world coincides with his red-hot form on the court as the point guard produced a career-year and then some.

He averaged 25.1 points a game and 6.8 assists, but it's safe to say his music following isn't purely borne out of his play on the court; he genuinely is talented.

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Lillard's engaging flow has attracted the interest of some major record labels over the summer, according to TMZ. The Portland Trail Blazer has since suggested he will most likely start up his own record label in order to distribute his music.

Either way, we can't wait to see what Dame Dolla drops next.

Iman Shumpert

The Cleveland Cavaliers man is still only 26-years-old, but he has already had several successful musical releases, the beautiful Teyana Taylor and, now, an NBA championship ring.

His track 'Supaphly' with R&B star Chrisette Michelle would not be out of place high in the charts. Going by the stage name of 2wo 1ne - which was is jersey number for the Knicks at the time, it's now No. 4 with the Cavaliers - has also remixed Drake's 'Hotline Bling' to show his versatility.

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He told ESPN last year about his influences in rap: “I’m influenced by guys like Kanye and Kendrick Lamar, people with a clear vision of themselves and what they want to do. I know people are going to say this and that about athletes who rap, but I know in my mind what I want to do, and I’m confident that it’ll work out in the end. I like people who want to be great, like Jay Z.”

Shaquille O'Neal

You didn't think we'd leave out Diesel, did you?

Although Shaq's simmering rivalry with Kobe on the court was as serious as it gets, there was nothing even remotely close between them musically.

Shaq is, certainly sales wise, the best NBA player to ever try his hand at music.

The legendary center released four studio albums, two compilation albums, two soundtracks, one unreleased album and nine singles. His debut, 'Shaq Diesel', peaked at number 25 on the Billboard 200 and went platinum.

Seattle SuperSonics' Sam Perkins (L) walks away af

On the last of his third album, 'You Can't Stop The Reign', the list of featured artists included The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and Mobb Deep. That's literally insane.

Shaq almost certainly capitalised on his global popularity at the time, but who will be the next breakout, crossover star?

Topics:
Shaquille O'Neal
NBA
Eastern Conference
Kobe Bryant
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference

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