ESPN Music: basketball

The Mag 15 playlist: 2008

April, 5, 2013
4/05/13
7:00
AM ET
ESPN The Magazine is celebrating its 15th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, The Mag will look back and generate exclusive playlists curated by Bomani Jones. The "Around the Horn" panelist will pick and discuss the biggest hits of the past 15 years. Listen to the entire playlist below.

“Whatever You Like” by T.I.
“This had to be the team song of the Detroit Lions, whose accommodating performances on the gridiron helped make them the first 0-16 team in NFL history.”

“Superstar” by Lupe Fiasco
“Forget his NFL career. Watch this and be reminded Tim Tebow [the speech], on his way to a national title at Florida, was every bit the superstar many wished he could be now.”

“4 Minutes” by Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake
“The song doesn’t matter. Just remember the '08 Phillies won the franchise’s first World Series since ... before anyone had even heard of Madonna. Yeah, long time.”

“No Air” by Jordin Sparks featuring Chris Brown
“As in, when Mario Chalmers hit a last-second 3-point dagger to send Kansas into overtime against Memphis, John Calipari looked like there was no air left in the universe.”

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The Mag 15 playlist: 2007

April, 3, 2013
4/03/13
7:00
AM ET
ESPN The Magazine is celebrating its 15th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, The Mag will look back and generate exclusive playlists curated by Bomani Jones. The "Around the Horn" panelist will pick and discuss the biggest hits of the past 15 years. Listen to the entire playlist below.

“Make It Rain” by Fat Joe
“That was pretty much all anyone could hope would happen in a game against the 16-0 Patriots, featuring the resurrection of Randy Moss. Or, just wait for the Super Bowl.”

“Umbrella” by Rihanna
“Never forget -- Prince killed the Super Bowl halftime in February -- in high heels, in the rain -- and managed to sneak an inappropriate visual into the show for good measure.”

“Party Like a Rock Star” by Shop Boyz
“Because this is exactly what Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich did after winning their fourth championship. You know they did.”

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The Mag 15 playlist: 2006

April, 1, 2013
4/01/13
7:00
AM ET
This month, ESPN The Magazine celebrates its 15th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, The Mag will look back and generate exclusive playlists curated by Bomani Jones. The "Around the Horn" panelist will pick and discuss the biggest hits of the past 15 years. Listen to the entire playlist below.

“Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley
“This was the year Steve Nash won his second MVP. Maybe we were crazy? Yeah, possibly.

“Ridin Dirty” by Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone
“This is more Mark Martin’s flavor, but it was the year Jimmy Johnson won his first of five Cup series championships. If you ain’t ridin’ dirty, you ain’t tryin’.”

“I’m in’ Luv (Wit a Stripper)” by T-Pain
“At once, a young athlete’s dream, and the soundtrack to the veteran’s cautionary tales.”

“Dirty Little Secret” by The All-American Rejects
“Yes, Floyd Landis, I’m looking at you.”

“There It Go (The Whistle Song)” by Juelz Santana
“The unofficial theme song of the 2006 NBA Finals, when Dwayne Wade went to the foul line like he paid rent on it.”

“Bossy” by Kelis
“As is Peyton Manning. But after the 2006 season, he was something more important -- a Super Bowl champion.”

“Jesus, Take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood
“Little known fact -- that was the official name of the play Florida ran when Tim Tebow threw the jump pass. Or maybe it just should have been.”

The Mag 15 playlist: 2005

March, 29, 2013
3/29/13
7:00
AM ET
This month, ESPN The Magazine celebrates its 15th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, The Mag will look back and generate exclusive playlists curated by Bomani Jones. The "Around the Horn" panelist will pick and discuss the biggest hits of the past 15 years. Listen to the entire playlist below.

“I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by Dropkick Murphys
“Oh, you thought the newly minted Red Sox Nation stopped celebrating when 2004 ended?”

“Number One Spot” by Ludacris
“In the AP poll, that was USC’s from the end of 2003 all the way through the 2005 season. Until...”

“Best of You” by Foo Fighters
“...They ran into Vince Young in the greatest college football game of all time to close the season.”

“Speed of Sound” by Coldplay
“The Heisman Trust may not remember Reggie Bush, but the rest of us do, and that’s about how fast that electric, once-a-generation talent moved.”

“La Tortura” by Shakira featuring Alejandro Sanz
"2005 gave us one of the lowest-rated NBA Finals -- Spurs-Pistons -- in history, and it had the nerve to go seven games! What torture.”

“Scars” by Papa Roach
“As in, ‘If you cancel your whole season because of a labor dispute, NHL, it’s gonna leave some scars.’ And it left some scars.”

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day
“That’s the road the Seahawks take to go back in their minds to Super Bowl XL, and officials throw flags at them the whole way for no apparent reason.”

“Over and Over” by Nelly featuring Tim McGraw
“Hey, did you know Jerome Bettis was from Detroit? That’s one thing Seahawks fans hear going down that boulevard. Over and over.”

Rapper MGK is the new 'King' of Cleveland

March, 22, 2013
3/22/13
9:00
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Kyrie Irving, Machine Gun Kelly David Dermer/Diamond Images/ Getty ImagesMachine Gun Kelly, left, and Kyrie Irving are part of Cleveland's post-LeBron movement.
July 8, 2010, wasn't very kind to Cleveland Cavaliers fans. Their local hero, LeBron James, not only announced that he would "take my talents to South Beach," but he said those words live on a heavy-hitting scale -- national television.

It was a huge punch in the gut that moved some fans to burn his jersey, which was captured on local TV, and even motivated Cavs owner Dan Gilbert to write an open letter calling out LeBron's disloyalty, among other faults he saw.

The city was reeling, but an underrated hero emerged: One of Cleveland's own, rapper Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), who's a basketball fanatic on and off the court.

The season following LeBron's departure, the Cavs' team DJ, Steph Floss, started playing more of MGK's music during games, which led the rapper to become a staple at the Quicken Loans Arena and a favorite at games, with fans holding up signs in his honor. They appreciated his rags-to-riches story, which mostly unfolded in Cleveland, the city he settled in at 14 years old after living in Egypt, Germany, Chicago, Los Angeles and Denver.

That story initially involved MGK, 22, growing up in a broken home with an absent father and addict mother, and ending up homeless in his teens and raising a daughter, Casie, at 17. Then, a few years later, his musical talents were discovered by rap mogul Diddy, who signed him to his record label, Bad Boy Records. In 2012, MGK churned out a top-five debut album on the Billboard charts, and this NBA season, his song "Invincible" is featured as part of the Cavaliers' pregame introduction video shown on the arena's Jumbotron.

Gilbert has witnessed firsthand how Cavs fans have embraced MGK, who, along with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, is putting the city back on the entertainment map. In fact, Gilbert has befriended MGK and he already has a bigger plan in store for his new buddy related to the ownership side of the team.

Speaking with ESPN Playbook recently, MGK talked about his Cleveland upbringing, connection to the Cavaliers, friendship with the owner, his musical and sports background, and much more.

How's the new year treating you?

I'm really just excited to tour the states with my album, because last year the only time we got to tour with the album was in Canada. And that was insane because it was all sold-out. But I'm just excited to go out and play in front of the states, and kind of give the album the shine that it didn't really get. It's really just like eye-opening because every city we're going to is selling out, which I think surprised a lot of people.

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Flo Rida talks Miami Heat, LeBron, NASCAR

March, 21, 2013
3/21/13
1:39
PM ET

NEW YORK -- Few people are enjoying basketball right now more than hip-hop artist Flo Rida.

The South Florida resident, who owns Miami Heat courtside season tickets and grew up a few miles from the University of Miami, has been in attendance for much of the Miami Heat’s historic 24-game (and counting) winning streak. And he’s vocal about his support for “The U,” a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Flo Rida spoke with ESPN Playbook about his Heat theme song, his custom-made Heat championship ring, and more on Wednesday afternoon as he helped announce Samsung’s new line of TVs.

Is there a better time to be a Miami Heat fan?

It’s super exciting. That dunk the other day, LeBron over Jason Terry, that was crazy. I wish I was in Boston watching it. I’m definitely courtside every game I can make. I have season tickets, so I’m just excited about the Heat. We need to get another championship. I actually bought a championship ring last year.

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Spoon's Daniel talks new band, NBA love

December, 12, 2012
12/12/12
6:41
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Britt Daniel and The Divine FitsRick Kern/Getty ImagesBritt Daniel, a longtime Dallas Mavericks fan, is now on tour with his new outfit, The Divine Fits.
On Wednesday, The Divine Fits -- a super group composed of Britt Daniel (Spoon), Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs), Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks) and keyboardist Alex Fischel -- resumes its touring schedule in Aspen, Colo., in support of their new album, “A Thing Called the Divine Fits."

The best part, singer Britt Daniel said of this new project, “is that we’ve become real good friends.” Daniel also had a lot to say about what is for him a totally new routine to making music.

“The major difference is that there’s another songwriter doing half the work and singing half the songs," he said. "That’s different for me because when I am putting together a Spoon record, that’s a lot of songs to fill out an album."

Daniel indicated that the new process of working with other accomplished musicians is not only refreshing but exhilarating, and the tunes show it. Their songs, such as “Would That Not Be Nice” and “Baby Get Worse” encompass a renewed cool vibe, still bearing familiarity to each artist’s earlier works. Brown’s strong, calm patter of drums sets a pace that lets the guitars and vocal talents of both Boeckner and Daniel cruise to newfangled heights. Meanwhile, the Divine Fits’ first take also features an eclectic mix, combining elements of the 1970s hard rock of T. Rex and David Bowie with hues of 1980s new wave music.

When it comes to conjuring up new songs that feel and sound good, the longtime Spoon frontman and songwriter talked about the control that most driven musicians possess.

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Danny Granger's late travel helped the Orlando Magic beat the Indiana Pacers on Saturday -- and caused backup point guard Chris Duhon to celebrate with a "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" dance. Or was Duhon making the "traveling" motion? Both? You decide.

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