NBA Name-Drop: Damian Lillard, Marvin Bagley III Set Off Basketball’s Best Rap Beef
For all that the suits and selections of the NBA draft did to make waves across Twitter, the biggest victory from Thursday night belonged to Damian Lillard. The Portland Trail Blazers’ All-Star guard didn’t seek out his rap beef with Sacramento Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III, but once it arrived on his virtual doorstep, he answered the call—and then some.
The back-and-forth began on Thursday morning when, during an appearance on ESPN’s First Take, Marvin responded to a question from co-host Max Kellerman about who’s the best MC in the NBA by choosing himself. When Max asked if Marvin would battle Dame on the mic, the 20-year-old didn’t shy away from the idea.
Mere hours later, Marvin, as MB3FIVE, dropped “No Debate,” a track in which he stakes his claim as the NBA’s best rapper.
That release prompted Dame D.O.L.L.A., already knee-deep in producing his next hip-hop album, to respond with a diss track of his own, entitled “MARVINNNNNN???!!!,” that hit SoundCloud during the draft.
About four hours later, following a flurry of tweets supporting his supremacy at the cross section of hip-hop and hoops, Dame tacked on another brief but devastating retort with “BYE BYE.”
On Friday, Marvin clapped back with feeling and flow—and going out of his way to call out Dame by name—on "Checkmate."
Dame declined to respond, in large part because he's plenty busy making his own music at the moment. Even if that weren't the case, though, nobody should expect this particular beef to turn violent, if the subsequent tweets between these two are any indication.
That said, don't be surprised if Dame and Marvin go at each other with a bit more oomph the next time they meet on the court—and if there are more eyeballs than usual tracking games between the Blazers and Kings from now on.
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.