The Los Angeles Times headlined game one of the Sixers/Lakers NBA Championship saying, "OT, then Oh No," whereas the Philadelphia Daily News boldly spat, "Sweep This!" Like the bi-coastal papers, the hip hop community is also polarized over the Championship series. Although the Lakers lost the first game, they managed to rage back and the Philly born, Cali bred rapper Kurupt is not confused about what side he is rooting for.
"My answer to any Laker/Sixer question is SHAQ! Shaq is the real answer. SHAQ, SHAQ, SHAQ," Kurupt exclaimed referring to Allen "The Answer" Iverson. "If you have any more questions about basketball, the answer will still be Shaq!" Despite the loss, the Lakers remain the heavily favored team attributing the loss to a ten-day lay-off.
In Philadelphia, Criminal Records/Roc-A-Fella rapper Freeway remains confident Philly will win the series even though LA is predicted to rage back. "I know the Sixers will pull it off in 6," Freeway said. "And AI, as a player, he’s the most unstoppable cat one-on-one. That’s why he’s M.V.P."
When Philly’s RAM Squad bounced out of the ESPN Zone in Times Square, the Philadelphia Sixers had halted the LA Lakers post season domination and 16-game winning streak. Their glee caused the group to scream the hook from one of their songs, "Ain’t nothing but ballers up in here!" Other hip hop outfits like Tone from the Trackmasters, Big Kap (Big Dawg Pitbulls), Wongus (DJ for Power 99 in Philly) and Lance "Un" Rivera (allegedly stabbed by Jay Z) also showed their support for the Sixers at ESPN Zone.
Similar to Kurupt, The Outlawz were raised on the East coast but also rep the West coast, and the group’s views on the series are equally split. "I got the Lakers in 6 (games)," said EDI, an Outlawz group member. "Shaq is unfuckwitable like them Outlawz!" Conversely, another member of the group, Kastro, takes the exact opposite view. "(If the Sixers) keep it up and stay focused, it’s Philly (who is going to win)."
The last time the Sixers and the Lakers met in a championship series, the Sixers swept LA in 1983 with Julius "Dr. J" leading the team to victory. Now, the Lakers are expected to shed some of the rust and Shaq and Kobe are to bring the heat to Iverson and the Sixers. In ‘83, hip hop was still in its infancy and the West coast hip hop scene didn’t have much of a voice. Things have changed dramatically. "Nobody can handle the lakers this year," Kurupt vocalized emphatically. Only time will reveal what the Sixers have to say.