If this year-long 50th anniversary celebration hasn't taught you anything else, then you should at least walk away from this year with the understanding that hip hop and sports go way back. Way way back. Muhammad Ali basically rapping what he had to say while preaching the word back. Afro Julius Erving rocking the Converse in the 1970s back. Grandmaster Flash's 1980s dominance back. Run-DMC and adidas back. While sports and hip hop are indeed two different entities, it's not hard to see how the two have intersected over the decades. Think about it—both sports and hip hop have been pillars of Black culture, both have fought to be celebrated and heard against the backdrop of cultural oppression, and both have had to deal with political persecution amongst other obstacles. Most important, however, both have risen about those obstacles, narratives, and setbacks to give us some of the most elite talent the world has ever seen.
If you are a major fan of both cultures, then ESPN's The Crossover: 50 Years of Hip Hop and Sports needs to be on your watchlist.