Beats, Bars & Basketball: "Spittin' Image" DIP CELTS! DIP CELTS! DIP CELTS! What? Ow!
In May of 2013, a resurgent New York Knicks team full of old veterans themselves, showed up to Madison Square Garden in funeral style all-black attire to bury one of the most storied Celtics runs of all time. Euthanized by their healthier, hungrier peers. In August of 2021, a resurgent New York Warlocks (aka THE LOX) team, full of old veterans themselves, showed up to Madison Square Garden in an undertaker’s mind-frame ready to bury one of the most storied Hip-Hop runs of all time; The Harlem Diplomats. Euthanized by their healthier, hungrier peers.
Of course it’s all metaphorical and in WWE fashion that we refer to these “funerals,” because literally and figuratively—the greats live on. And the 2008-2012 Boston Celtics and the 2002-2006 Harlem Diplomats are most certainly greats. They both dominated the narratives and culture of Hip-Hop and Pro Basketball and they delivered plenty of tangible results as well. The Kevin Garnett/ Paul Pierce/ Ray Allen Boston Celtics won a title their first playoffs together in June 2008 (defeating Kobe’s Lakers), appearing again in The Finals in 2010 (losing to Kobe’s Lakers) and going to two more Conference Finals in 2009 (losing to Dwight’s Magic) and 2012 (Losing to Lebron’s Heat in an epic 7 game series). The Diplomats led by their “Big 3” of Cam’ron/Jim Jones/ Juelz Santana from 2002-2006 released countless cult-favorite mixtapes, eight top 20 Billboard solo studio albums, and two monster compilations including arguable classics in Cam’rons “Come Home With Me” and the collective’s “Diplomatic Immunity.”
While the Celtic’s resume in their late 2000’s prime doesn’t make them GOAT material like the Lakers/Spurs dynasties before and alongside them-- nor the Heat/Warriors dynasties after them-- they loom large in the EXPERIENCE of actually being an NBA fan at the time -- hate them or love them. In the same way, while it is undoubtable that The Diplomats were definitely #1 at a point in their prime-- as a whole-- their resume doesn’t quite stack up with the true blue blood NYC dynasties like Wu-Tang/Ruff Ryders/Bad Boy— but you just couldn’t be a fan of Hip-Hop at the time without being acutely in tune with the Dipset -- hate them or love them.