If you were following Pusha T on Twitter a few years ago—and if you weren’t, what were you doing with yourself?—you probably remember the furious flurry of Celtics-related tweets that’d drop every spring, on cue, around Playoff time. The younger member of the Clipse’s Celtics fandom has since dwindled, but his love of the sport of basketball has not, and while in Miami for the 2014 EBC South Beach Invitational—presented by BACARDI Flavored Rums, of which Pusha is the official “Flavor Ambassador”—we got up with the Virginia-raised rapper to talk hoops and plenty more.
SLAM: Back in 2012 you said you think the NBA has been ruined by superteams. Do you still feel that way?
Pusha T: Yeah, I’m very upset about that. As it comes to being a passionate fan of a team, I don’t think you can be a passionate fan of a team when they’re being built like such. So as it stands right now I’m just supportive of all of the different ballplayers, my favorites—the KDs, LeBrons, all those guys. But as far as a team goes, you can’t love it. I was a true fan of Boston, man. Now if you just sit back and look at the Boston team, and then you look at the guys who were playing from [the late 00s], from that team—it’s just dumb. It’s like, yo, I don’t know. [Shakes head] The one thing that I can’t knock about it is, it’s business. It’s big business for these guys, and they’re showing that they’re true, very real businessmen, and I respect that.
SLAM: What’d you think of LeBron deciding to return to Cleveland?
PT: Lebron coming back, I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know what that means. I can see it and understand it—everybody wants to go home. Home is always a comforting place.
SLAM: When My Name is My Name had just been released LeBron tweeted that he was bumping it—that must’ve been a pretty good look for you.
PT: For sure, man. I’ve met him a couple times and he’s a very cool guy.
SLAM: You had that little crack at him on “Popular Demand,” though.
PT: Ah, yeah [laughs]. But that ain’t have nothing to do with LeBron. I mean, I was speaking in terms of the woman.
SLAM: Are there any other NBA players that you’re cool with?
PT: I’m from Virginia, so Allen Iverson, of course. We’ve had our run-around-the-city days.
SLAM: How has AI influenced you?
PT: Ah man, listen. Allen Iverson, he was everything to the Seven Cities in Virginia, like the 757 area. He was the dream. It’s just his impact, and everything he did, that was so inspiring. We were kids seeing this guy with like four Bentleys, just going crazy down the street, with a basketball in the back. I remember seeing him being out at clubs and man, he just was an inspiration. He was the NBA rapper.
SLAM: What are your thoughts on NBA players trying to rap in their off time?
PT: I have to say that Shaq and Big’s “You Can’t Stop the Reign” is one of my favorite songs. Shoutout to Shaq—you did it, Shaq. He did his thing. But you know, I pay attention to everything. Every rapper wants to be an NBA baller and every NBA baller wants to be a rapper.
SLAM: Why is that?
PT: I don’t know, man. I know I wish I was an NBA baller.
SLAM: Who’s in your all-time starting five?
PT: All-time? I’m gonna go with KD, Jordan of course, Kobe of course, LeBron of course, and Duncan, of course.
SLAM: Only modern-era guys?
PT: Yeah. That athleticism, man.
SLAM: Early 2015 NBA Championship prediction?
PT: Who do I think is gonna win it this year? Dammit, you know who I think is gonna win it? The Spurs. Again. And those kids, listen: Who’s old on the Spurs now?
SLAM: Tim Duncan.
PT: Besides him.
SLAM: Manu Ginobili.
PT: Nobody. Come on, man. Those guys are still all ready to go.
SLAM: Are you able to watch regularly when you’re on tour?
PT: Oh yeah. Everybody’s hip on the bus. Everybody.
SLAM: Last question: You’re obviously big into fashion—can we hurry up and bring back throwback jerseys?
PT: Not happening [laughs]. But I don’t think throwbacks go out of style if you’re a true fan, man. It doesn’t really go out of style. It’s not a fashion thing—that’s really a lifestyle type of thing.