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Meaning of the song ‘Basketball’ by ‘Kurtis Blow’

Released: 1994

“Basketball” by Kurtis Blow is a track that interweaves his love for the sport with his love for hip-hop, drawing parallels between the skill and agility needed on the court and the linguistic finesse demanded by the mic. The song serves as an homage to the basketball legends of the ’80s, while illustrating how the sport serves as a metaphor for the competitive nature of rap.

Kurtis opens with the refrain “They’re playing basketball / We love that basketball”, cleverly setting the scene and expressing shared admiration for the game. The track then transitions into Blow detailing his love for the sport, likening his mastery on the mic to the legendary skills of Dr. J and Moses Malone on the court.

The rap’s filled with cultural references relatable to any basketball aficionado. Kurtis showcases his understanding of the game by mentioning signature plays like the “Alley Oop” and the “pick-and-roll”, asserting his lyrical prowess just as these plays demonstrate a player’s competitive edge.

The latter verses pay tribute to basketball’s finest, with shout-outs to luminaries like the quicksilver earl “The Pearl” Monroe and the towering Wilt Chamberlain. He reminises about Chamberlain’s legendary 100-point game and both the scoring prowess and physicality of the formidable Darryl Dawkins. Mentioning players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird, Kurtis Blow paints vivid images of classic NBA moments.

Kurtis Blow’s “Basketball” is not just about the sport; it’s about recognizing greatness, the spirit of competition, and the thrill of the game. It’s a testament to heroes on the court, just as Blow himself was a hero on the mic, pushing the boundaries of hip-hop and elevating the genre just like the athletes he idolized elevated the game of basketball.

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