Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball wore a Nas-inspired hoodie to his game against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Dec. 12. The gray hoodie is a picture of Ball’s face with his nickname “Zo” in the upper corner of the photo, which is very similar to Nas’ classic Illmatic album cover.
Ball has a history of making comments against classic hip-hop. During season one of “Ball in the Family,” web series, Ball said he wasn’t a fan of the ’90s rap sound.
“Y’all outdated, man, nobody listens to Nas no more,” Ball said. “Real hip-hop is Migos, Future!”
Ball also tweeted that he thought 21 Savage’s album Issa was better than Jay-Z’s 4:44.
He also wore the same hoodie in the color black when the Big Baller Brand hosted a pop-up shop in New York City on Sunday, Dec. 10. Ball played a solid game in his debut in the garden. Ball finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two steals in the Lakers’ overtime loss to the Knicks. Nas posted his congratulations to his hometown team’s victory on Instagram after the game.
Many public figures have challenged New York’s status as a cultural mecca in recent years. Just last month, Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James posted on Instagram that he was the King of New York. In 2013, Kendrick Lamar dubbed himself the King of New York. On his 2014 Forest Hills Drive release, J Cole called himself the King of New York.
The truth is while the actual city still has attention drawn to it, New York doesn’t have as many current bragging rights as it once did. Atlanta has taken over as the hip-hop capital for the last two decades, only six players out of the top 100 high school seniors in basketball are from New York or New Jersey, and the Knicks haven’t made it past the second round in the playoffs since 2000.