Lou Williams has played with some legendary players on the court. He was Allen Iverson’s backcourt mate in Philadelphia, then went on to learn from Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Last year, Williams earned his third Sixth Man of the Year award as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s soaked up all the knowledge in each stop along the way, too. Off the court, Williams is a talented rapper who released his debut album in 2017 on Tidal. He often drops tracks on his social media accounts and his latest is a stirring tribute to Bryant.
The 33-year-old teased his newest song entitled “24” from his new six-song EP Syx Piece on Thursday. It’s a rhythmic love letter to the NBA legend, a guy Williams clearly idolized as both a teammate and mentor. The lyrics of “24” convey complex emotion and heartbreak, complete with a stirring ode to Bryant’s daughter Gigi.
Williams explains his own daughter texted him the news that Kobe and GiGi perished together in a helicopter crash and it broke his heart. “Somebody help me understand because I’m having a hard time seeing the bigger part of the plan,” bemoans a secondary chorus.
The song opens like a testimonial to Bryant’s greatness:
Too many rings on my hand I can’t fit ’em all. Mamba Mentality I’m just trying to be great. Night to the morning I’m ballin’ 24-8. Look at my wrist you see a trophy. I’m just trying to be like Kobe.
Then, Williams raps about his friend:
Yeah, I’m sleeping through a bad dream. I woke up just feeling the same theme. You kept me focused, locked in, even on a bad team. Fadeaway, I lean left, too mean. Confident but from you that boosted my self-esteem. I had your number but never used it, didn’t want to bother. I remember that charter, coming from Nevada, pass you the bottle and you asked what I was drinking, I said ‘Tequila, toasted, drink up’ — nothing but love, hugs between us.
Williams, selected by the Sixers with the 45th overall pick in 2005, was signed by the Lakers in July 2015 and played alongside Bryant during his final year in the league. He witnessed first-hand the Mamba Mentality in 2016 and had a front-row seat when Bryant dropped 60 points in his final game at Staples Center.
In fact, Williams admits he and teammate Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) asked to sit out that game out even after Bryant had asked them both to suit up and play. The 15-year veteran and current Clippers star raps:
I got 100 stories, majority can’t be exposed, not because they wrong but because they memories just mine to hold. Thinking of that last game, last time I got to see you go, asked me and Metta to play and we had told you no. Knew what you were about to do, we wanted to watch it, too. You went for 60 in your city and then dropped the mic, like woo, see that’s the Mamba Mentality.
Bryant has been a huge influence on the NBA’s current crop of superstars. It’s nice to him getting a fitting tribute in musical form.
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