Active in the industry for nearly 30 years, LL Cool James, has been around the entertainment industry long enough that he has some interesting tales.
In a recent sit down with SLAM, the New York native talks about his ties to the NBA community. Apparently, he was close with Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason - members of the tough-as-nails Knicks teams of the early 90s.
SLAM: Was there a lot of NBA/hip-hop crossover when you were first coming up?
LL: Without a doubt. I was always friends with Charles Oakley—we used to hang out all the time. I knew Jordan back then. I know everybody. I’ve known Baron Davis since early on. Kobe Bryant was a guest when he was a rookie, on In The House, when I did the sitcom.
SLAM: Was he as slick a talker then as he is now?
LL: Oh, he was talking real tough. Super tough. When he was a rookie he used to come to the set and we used to talk trash about playing one-on-one. [...]
The most interesting part of the interview, is when LL tells how Anthony Mason would act as a bouncer of sorts for the muscular emcee, and kick people out of parties when they would talk smack to Cool J.
SLAM: You grew up in New York City. Always been a Knicks fan?
LL: I grew up a Knicks fan, but you know what? I was always conflicted because Mike was so inspiring during the time when I was coming up in New York. But Pat Ewing was always a good friend of mine. Oakley [was a good friend], after he came to New York. I knew all the players. Anthony Mason was my man—he used to be in Queens all the time in my neighborhood. He used to throw guys out of barbecues for me. They were talking trash to me and Anthony Mason used to come in and grab them and be like, “Y’all gotta go! Y’all gotta go!” He was my man.