Up Next

Aux Cord Chronicles

Aux Cord Chronicles XV: Lil Wayne’s 20 most classic sports references

From “Swag Surf” to “Cannon” to “I’m On One,” Wayne stays on one

Have Baby and Wayne finally made up? Well, while the exact amount remains a secret, it looks like Wayne has “scored a big win in his ongoing legal battle with Cash Money Records.” It’s about time, as the bad blood was keeping Wayne from creating his usual sports-laced lyrical miracles. Let him free has been the refrain, because whether Lil Wayne is courtside at a Houston Rockets game or chilling at a Staten Island skatepark, the youngest Hot Boy is irrevocably linked to the wide world of sports — and the culture of rap. In fact, Wayne’s love of all things athletic is why we’re gathered here today for the 15th (!) edition of Aux Cord Chronicles. We’re recalling 20 boss times that Wayne’s passion for sports bled into his day job. Did we nail them all? Every single sports reference Wayne has ever made on a record? Of course not. A full list of Lil Wayne sports mentions would have us here until at least Thanksgiving. But as we circle the 10-year anniversary (it’s on June 10) of the powerful Tha Carter III and look toward a Carter V that actually seems probable, let’s relive the Lil Wayne records that come with a splash of SportsCenter, a dose of Kobe and probably the best Mia Hamm reference you’ll ever hear. From “Swag Surf” back to “Cannon” up through “I’m On One,” Lil Wayne stays on one.

“Best of Me” Freestyle (2002)

Three, two, one, Carolina Blue Kicks/ Carolina Blue fitted, Carolina Blue whip / Carolina Blue twentys, Carolina Blue seats/ Carolina Blue ice, Carolina Blue bikes / Carolina Blue lights, Carolina Blue jerseys/ Carolina Blue gators, aw f— it my favorite team is the Lakers / Laker Yellow ‘Lambo, Laker Yellow ‘rari / Laker Yellow 9.11, Laker Yellow mami / Laker Yellow Converse, Laker Yellow Remy/ Laker Yellow number eight Kobe Bryant authentic…

Real Weezy fans remember the early, early SQAD Up days. Anywho, thanks in part to this long, literal double-team reference, another sports-related reference that often goes unmentioned is a shot at former UNC standout Joe Forte. This song is also where Wayne makes one of the first of many references to his favorite player, Kobe Bean Bryant.

Earthquake” (2004)

I’m sorry I was grooving / Gotta love that laid-back Mannie Fresh music/ But let’s get back to what we was doing / Laid back in that ‘Lac on Pat Ewings/ That’s 33-inch tires, he fire …

Still a bop, if we’re being completely honest with ourselves.

“Tha Mobb” (2005)

I’m awkward like Cartwright, f— with a n—a / Shot ugly, but my arch right / Come on, dog — bark, bite …

Fun fact: Former New York Knick and Chicago Bull (and three-time NBA champ) Bill Cartwright is said to have the third-weirdest shooting form in league history. On a related note, I’m on record saying this is my favorite (album) Lil Wayne song ever.

“Cannon” (2006)

I leave you missing like the f—ing O’Bannons…

I could be wrong, but this might be the only time Ed and Charles O’Bannon have ever been name-dropped in a song.

Sportscenter” (2006)

I’m servin’ this track like, Steffi Graf, yeah Roger Federer — there’s no competitors …

A standout track from his standout Dedication 2 mixtape, Cita’s son left no doubt as to how deep his love of sports and, in particular, his appreciation for ESPN ran.

“Walk It Off” (2006)

Every time I’m tryin’ to leave she beggin’ me to stay/ And I politely fade away like my name was M.J. / Then she wrote me a note, guess what that note says? / Well, I hope you still like me but I go both ways / And then I say Oh, then I say okay …

Ah, yes, Wayne’s classic flip of the UNLV classic “Don’t U Be Greedy.” If anyone ever doubted Weezy’s flow, play them this.

“3 Peat” (2008)

Yeah, I got game like Stuart / Scott, fresh out the ESPN shop / And when SportsCenter poppin’, everything stoppin’ …

It’s a proven fact you can never, ever go wrong paying homage to the late, great Stuart Scott. As Weezy did on the intro to his career’s most successful album, Tha Carter III.

“Upgrade” (2007)

Put a m—–f—– on ice like the Maple Leafs / That’s a hockey team and I ain’t on no hockey team / But I’m a champion, where’s the f—ing Rocky theme / Damn, Rest In Peace Apollo Creed …

On this one, Wayne also drops Michael Jordan, the Georgetown Hoyas and Avery Johnson. It’s also the first time we hear the name Nicki Minaj on a Young Money record.

“Live From the 504” (2007)

In the middle of the war, where my enemy at? I’m running this b—- like Eric Bieniemy back …

Long live Da Drought 3. It was released at the apex of Weezy’s unimpeachable run as music’s most prolific rapper. Never doubt the depths of Wayne’s sports knowledge either. The man pays homage here to the second runner-up in the 1990 Heisman Trophy race. That’s dedication. No pun intended, of course.

“Swizzy” (2007)

My girl, she get her Pam Grier on / She don’t touch me, I got cashmere on / I ball, and you just Erick Dampier, dog / I’m dirty, I get my Bill Laimbeer on …

Whether or not the former Bad Boy Detroit Piston, who helped make Michael Jordan’s postseason life a living hell from 1988-90, has ever heard this song is unknown. But chances are he’d probably take this as a badge of honor.

“Swagga Like Us” with T.I., JAY-Z and Kanye West (2008)

And my jewels blue and yellow/ The type of s— that make ‘em call you Carmelo …

Oh, how I wish there was an official music video for this. Their joint performance with M.I.A. at the 2009 Grammys will have to suffice — which isn’t a bad consolation prize.

Put Me In The Game” (2008)

I’m a New Orleans Saint, and to the Houston Texans I’d like to say thanks / Reggie Bush, baby! Reggie Bush, baby! / Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Sean Peyton …

The interesting thing about this is that Wayne’s an avid Green Bay Packers fan. Also mentioned in the song is Mario Williams, who was picked No. 1 in the 2006 NFL draft, which allowed Reggie Bush, one of the most incredibly hyped players ever coming out of college, to “slip” to New Orleans at No. 2.

“Kobe Bryant” (2009)

Kobe doin’ work / 2-4 on my shirt / He the greatest on the court / And I’m the greatest on the verse …

You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger celebrity fan of Kobe Bryant than Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.

Million Dollar Baby” (2009)

I’m a Bengal on the beat like Carson Palmer …

Since we’re here, Palmer’s career, which wasn’t terrible by any means, would be remembered very differently if he hadn’t been injured in the 2005 wild-card playoff game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Swag Surf” (2009)

I ain’t promised tomorrow / Now women kicking it with me like Nomar Garciaparra …

The entire No Ceilings tape alone could take up this entire list, as it’s truly one of the all-time great examples of hip-hop’s love affair with sports. ”Swag Surf,” in particular, has nods to athletes like Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather and, here, Mia Hamm — soccer legend and Nomar’s wife. Salute to Wayne, too, for having the courage to remake this country’s national anthem and turn it into his own.

“Banned From TV” (2009)

Yeah, take that to the bank witcha / I rock my hat to the side like I paint pictures / Smoke weed, talk s— like Lane Kiffin / Whole country in recession, but Wayne different …

One of my all-time favorite Weezy lines, and this will never change in part because of the randomness and accuracy of the Kiffin mention. Kiffin himself appreciated the shoutout when he was briefly the head coach at the University of Tennessee.

Demolition Freestyle 1” w/ Gudda Gudda (2009)

Like Eli I’m from New Orleans, I’m a Giant in this b—-/ Move the G and add a S and put the I before the N / And put the A in front of that, and that’s what I am to the end / That’s a Saint m—–f—–, simplify it for them ….

Brilliant.

Veterans Day” w/ Rick Ross and Birdman (2010)

If you want it, you can get it / Come and sign up/ We got choppers that’ll put that Tony Romo 9 up …

Wayne and Ross have historically put out great music together. I’m not sure where Ross and Birdman stand after last year’s “Idols Become Rivals.” But if the rumors are to be believed and Carter 5 is dropping this year, hopefully Ross is involved.

“I’m On One” (2011)

I walk around the club, f— everybody / And all my n—as got that Heat, I feel like Pat Riley …

Seven summers later this song still goes.

“Believe Me” feat. Drake (2014)

His and hers Ferraris, n—a / One for me, one for my daughter, n—a / Waitin’ for someone to test me like a Harvard n—a / I tote a 223, two Michael Jordans, n—a …

One of the lead singles from the still-incarcerated Carter V? It’s nearly a half-decade old now. Hopefully we’ll soon hear much more. Keyword being “hopefully.”

Justin Tinsley is a culture and sports writer for The Undefeated. He firmly believes “Cash Money Records takin’ ova for da ’99 and da 2000” is the single-most impactful statement of his generation.