What are NBA players listening to on those headphones?


Rajon Rondo, tuned in. (Charles Krupa / AP)

Ever wonder what NBA players are listening to on their Beats?

For the most part, the playlist they’re jammin’ to before and after they’re jammin’ has little to do with the music played in arenas. What the players are listening to is more personally meaningful than that, or it was until Vanity Fair dived into the topic recently. Lisa Robinson writes Jay Z is often the choice for Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Jay Z’s wife, Beyonce, is Dwight Howard’s preference while Mo Williams of the Portland Trail Blazers prefers Phil Collins’s “In the Air.” (Who are we to judge?)

LeBron James said he rolls with “Jay Z, Drake, Kanye West, the Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, and Pharrell.” The go-to guy, though, “would be Jay Z. His lyrics, his flow, his music, his inspiration get me ready to go out and do whatever it takes to win.”

And Kevin Durant, who’s been on a tear in 2014? The Oklahoma City star, who signed with Jay Z’s Roc Nation agency, sees an end game in his musical choices. “I play different stuff; a lot of R&B, some old-school hip-hop and new-school hip-hop—it depends on the game and the environment. I have a recording studio, and I’m really interested in how music is made. [Eventually], when I’m done playing, I can see getting involved with developing artists and helping them elevate themselves to a higher level.”

Kevin Garnett revealed that is isn’t so much whom he listens to as it is why he tunes in. His choices are often “Lorde, Drake, Kanye West, Portishead, Zero 7, Colbie Caillat—it depends on my mood. I always listen to music before a game; music helps me in many ways. When I have my headphones on and am listening to whatever I’m listening to, it’s like yoga or meditation—it calms me and puts me in a better place.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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