Hip Hop and professional sports can’t be separated at this point. Both trades are all about machismo and intense competition. Many of the athletes are fans of hip hop genre and many of the artists are sports fans. Therefore sports references are a recurring theme in hip hop music. Comparing yourself to the best on the court or field is a great way to creatively boast. What’s even more creative is when an artist uses a particular athlete to just flat out eliminate his competition. We pulled some of the most superlative examples of this.

A couple of notes: this is not explicitly a “Best Of” list. But Jay-Z, the God MC provides the best example on Earth in the Pump it Up (Freestyle) from 2003. Jay-Zwas “borrowing” Joe Budden’s beat in order to respond to a beef between the two. Jay-Z compares himself to MJ while eloquently downgrading Joe Budden from “Kobe, maybe” all the way down to…Shawn Bradley.

Also, Wale is easily the king of sports references in hip hop. It’s not just the frequency with which uses sports as a canvas, it’s also his obvious deep knowledge of sports – he flawlessly integrates even the most obscure of players.