Roc Nation is bringing the stars to Brooklyn when they’ll host their second Summer Classic Charity Basketball Game this Thursday, July 21 at the Barclays Center. There to rep BK and maybe play, or maybe coach, will be Fabolous.
Of course, Fab’s been no stranger to dropping basketball references in his lyrics. Back in ’01, Fab shouted out the Knicks on “Young’n,” and hasn’t stopped since he mentioned the Warriors on his remix to the anthemic “All the Way Up.”
We caught up with the Ghetto Fabolous MC to talk Roc Nation’s Summer Classic, his charitable efforts, playing ball, KD to the Warriors and more.
SLAM: Why is this charity game so important?
Fabolous: Anything charitable that they’re doing, I try to make it my all to be a part of it and support my management company who supports whatever I do as well. I played in it last time.
SLAM: What does it mean to you to be able to come home and give back to your community?
Fabolous: Not only is it an opportunity of mine that I gotta take advantage of, but also to salute that the Barclays and Roc Nation have given opportunities to people from the same walks of life as me.
I grew up in Brooklyn, so I know how helpful it is for the Barclays to provide jobs to the community and I know how helpful it is to sometimes take a break from what’s going on and come out and be a part of the charity game itself. Both of those efforts, I’m fully behind as well.
SLAM: What will your role be this year?
Fabolous: I may play, I may coach. I haven’t decided exactly the role I wanna play yet. I like playing, I like getting out there and running a little bit, get the legs going. It becomes a little workout for you as well.
SLAM: What is your playing background? You mentioned you might get on the court a little bit…
Fabolous: I’ve been playing ball since I was a little kid, man. I’m a big sports fan and I love basketball. That’s why I said whatever medium they need me in, I’m doing, whether it’s playing or coaching.
SLAM: What do you think about KD to the Warriors?
Fabolous: I didn’t understand it at first. I was questioning why he didn’t stick it out with OKC. The team did make a change with Ibaka, so that could’ve also been a part of his decision. They came so close with the squad they had last year, maybe even if he could’ve got a one year player option to see if they could do it one more time.
Next year, Russell Westbrook’s contract is up too. With the option, KD could’ve left, or they both could’ve left, they both could’ve stayed. I just thought he would explore that a little bit and then see what he wanted to do after, but he made the best decision for himself.
SLAM: Do you think KD’s move is good for competitive balance in the NBA?
Fabolous: I don’t. I feel like it’s lopsided. Making a team that just came off a 73-9 season a harder team to beat isn’t good for the League. Some of the talent that’s in the NBA–all teams have talented players–but as far as star players, they can’t have all the star players on one team.
That’s what it feels like every team is trying to do, just to get an upper hand over the League. It’s almost like a cheat code. I didn’t like that aspect of it because I love to see great games. Whether I’m a fan or not, whether I know them or not, I love to see great basketball games and good competition. I don’t wanna see the League get lopsided.
SLAM: Who were you watching back in the day?
Fabolous: I was a big fan of the Bulls during the Michael Jordan era. Of course, I’m from New York, so I rooted for the Knicks. They had a lot of great 90s playoff runs. I was a big Kobe fan, so I also loved the Lakers. Those were my three squads. I would rotate between the Lakers, Knicks and the Bulls.
SLAM: What about these days? Are you a Knicks or a Nets fan?
Fabolous: I’m a little of both, man. I know people don’t like to do that, but I’m from Brooklyn and New York has always been my squad. I feel like the Knicks are doing a lot of things to get themselves back to the forefront of the League and you gotta support that. They need New York behind them.
I grew up watching the Knicks a lot with my uncle, who was a strong Knicks fan. One of the things I was able to do from my relationships was take my uncle to have a floor seat at the Knicks game. He cherishes that to this day.
SLAM: There’s a recent picture of you with Lance Stephenson. You know how important basketball is to New York, what do you think about the current state of basketball in the city?
Fabolous: New York City always produces great players and great guards. New York City basketball is alive. The sport of basketball, in general, the guys are more athletic and are able to do different things. The Brooklyn guards have proven that and I think that’s gonna continue. I don’t see any reason for that to stop.
SLAM: You’re well known for your jersey collection. And there’s this old picture of you in an Antoine Carr, #55 Utah Jazz jersey. What do you look for when you’re picking out your jerseys?
Fabolous: That time… that was a different time. I probably wasn’t looking at it the same.
Now, I try to find different things. Classic jerseys or something that’s special to me. A player that I love, a team I love. Sometimes it’s a dope style of jersey. It’s different things. I can wear certain jerseys a lot now, that I wasn’t wearing before. I’m not wearing something now that I’ve worn before.
SLAM: Were you rooting for the Cavs this year? You were just with Kyrie and in your “All the Way Up” verse you were talking about how the Warriors don’t look so tough no more.
Fabolous: I think everybody knows I speak on current events, especially in freestyles. I was just speaking on what was going on right then. At the time, the lyric was relevant. Then they came back from 3-1 and the lyric wasn’t relevant and then they lost 3-1 and the line became relevant again.