Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls during the 1990s were trailblazers for the NBA, shaping how basketball was viewed, taught and played. Not only has MJ served as an icon for his fans and those who practice the sport, but he is revered by the hip-hop community as well.
The six-time champion, who played for the Bulls from 1984-1993 and then from 1995-1998, has recently taken over TV and computer screens on Sunday nights thanks to the new ESPN 10-part documentary series, The Last Dance.
The series primarily focuses on Jordan and his final season with the Bulls from 1997—1998. The Last Dance chronicles MJ's background as a basketball player and also focuses on his journey to becoming an NBA legend, while shedding light on his relationships with Bulls head coach, Phil Jackson and teammates Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.
The Last Dance, which noticeably contains never-before-seen footage, first aired on April 19 and will continue to do so every Sunday until May 17.
Nonetheless, a number of rappers have shown the ways in which Jordan has influenced them over the years. Some have even paid homage to the NBA great and his profound accomplishments in their lyrics including Jay-Z and Fabolous. In Hov's "Encore," he raps, "When I come back like Jordan/Wearin' the 4-5, it ain't to play games with you / It's to aim at you, probably maim you/If I owe you I'm blowin' you to smithereens/Cocksucker, take one for your team!"
Jay's reference to the No. 45 stems from Jordan's retirement from the NBA just before the 1993—1994 season to join Minor League baseball. MJ wore the No. 23 during his time with the Chicago Bulls, but switched to 45 when playing baseball because that is the jersey number he wore as a kid and up until high school. When Jordan made his high school varsity basketball team, he switched to 23 because it was the closest to half of 45. Upon returning to the NBA after his brief stint with the Minor League, MJ continued wearing the No. 45 as it has sentimental value in connection to the death of his father.
Fabolous also paid tribute to Jordan in his record "B.O.M.B.S.," from his Summertime Shootout 3 mixtape. The title is an acronym, but also a double entendre, as it stands for "back on my bullshit." "I’m that bull in the hood/New Lamb truck, got the bull in the hood/Black and red lookin’ like the Bulls at the hood/23’s on it, got the Bulls sitting good/This game 6, this can't miss/Shootin’ my shot, wrist hang, swish," Fab raps on the track.
Check out some photos of Michael Jordan with some of your favorite rappers below.
See Michael Jordan With Your Favorite Rappers Over the Years