The Song Remains the Same

The Song Remains the Same

The Wine & Gold Talk About Tunes by Joe Gabriele (@CavsJoeG) 2/10/19 | Cavs.com NBA players are often fictionalized as boastful, boisterous individuals who feel they can do anything. But, as usual, the actual truth is completely different. And though they’re well-paid for their abundant talents, they also know their limitations – especially when it

The Wine & Gold Talk About Tunes

by Joe Gabriele (@CavsJoeG)
2/10/19 | Cavs.com

NBA players are often fictionalized as boastful, boisterous individuals who feel they can do anything.

But, as usual, the actual truth is completely different. And though they’re well-paid for their abundant talents, they also know their limitations – especially when it comes to music. At the highest levels, musical talent is one of the only God-given gifts that – like the players’ own – you either have or you don’t.

(That’s not to say anyone can’t show off their pipes or learn an instrument – and, like all of us, the current Cavs have aspirations. Walter McCarty has sung the National Anthem at All-Star Weekend. Our own Jim Chones played it on bass before a home game at The Q.)

Players’ tastes are mostly rap, R&B and hip-hop, but there’s also a wide range of everything from John Coltrane to Portugal the Man to Outkast – and that’s just Channing Frye’s mix.

Whatever they’re listening to, music plays a major role in pro athletes gameday ritual. It’s a rarity to see a player at any level getting off the bus without a set of headphones on. And how the tunes tweak their mood might be the difference between an outstanding performance or a total dud.

With the 61st Annual Grammy Awards set for this weekend, Cavs.com sat down with some of the current Cavaliers to talk about how music affects them – in life and in basketball …


Jordan Clarkson enjoys listening to Travis Scott in his buds as he arrives to the arena.
Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images


Who’s your favorite current artist or genre right now?

Jordan Clarkson: My favorite current artist would be Travis Scott right now. He has a good album “Astroworld.” He’s had a few good albums.

Cedi Osman: Right now, Justin Timberlake. I listen to him a lot. He’s one of my favorite artists.

Channing Frye: Man, I listen to so much different music. It was one of Richard (Jefferson)’s pet peeves — because on shuffle you would get like anything from John Coltrane to Outkast to Deadmau5 to Snoop to Kendrick Lamar to WuTang to Young Jeezy.

Like, I grew up with a lot of different music, so it just depends on my mood. Like at night, I like to listen to Spotify: The State of Jazz. And then if I’m with my kids at the pool, I’ll listen like Nu-disco. And then if I’m working out, doing cardio, I’ll listen to a lot of EDM, house music.

Collin Sexton: My favorite current artist right now is Meek Mill.

Larry Nance Jr.: My favorite artist right now is Logic.


Who’s your favorite musical artist of all-time?

Osman: Of all-time? Michael Jackson. I mean, he’s the King of Pop.

Clarkson: I don’t have a favorite artist of all-time. I’m all over the place with my music.

Nance Jr.: All-time would be J. Cole.

Frye: My favorite artist of all time would be John Coltrane. I love Outkast, as well. Obviously, I grew up in the Snoop Dogg West Coast rap era. I like Amy Winehouse.

And then one of my boys is, like, in Portugal the Man. That’s my guy. So those guys are great dudes. I love their music. I liked their music before they got famous, and now they’re just evolving.

Sexton: All-time? I like Tupac. I like Jay Cole, too. Those two.

David Nwaba: I like J. Cole. NBA YoungBoy is good as well. But no real favorites, per se.


What was your first concert?

Frye: “Power Jam 14” in Phoenix. It was Flipmode Squad, Black Eyed Peas (before Fergie). We had Blackstar, we had Cypress Hill, we had Public Enemy. I think Nas came out too. It was crazy.

Osman: It was here at The Q! We went to the Justin Timberlake concert and it was amazing! It was really good.

Nwaba: I’ve actually only been to one concert in my whole life, surprisingly. It was Kendrick Lamar. I saw him in Chicago at the United Center — and it was really good.

Sexton: My first concert was a Future show. They brought Gucci Mane out; it was pretty cool.

Clarkson: My first concert was probably Coachella. Travis Scott was headlining. I think the Weekend was there too. My boy, Tyler the Creator. A$ AP Rocky. It was a good lineup, but that was probably my first time going to a concert.

Nance Jr.: My first concert ever was my freshman year of high school, at Blossom, and it was Lil Wayne and Young Money. It was wild.


Channing Frye has a very eclectic music playlist.
Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images


If you could play one musical instrument, which one would it be?

Zizic: Guitar, maybe.

Sexton: The drums. Rhythm is just like basketball – the dribbling and shooting.


Is there a guilty pleasure song anywhere on your shuffle that your teammates might tease you for?

Nance Jr.: Well, I love any and all Bruno Mars. I don’t feel bad about that. I also love some Maroon 5 every now and again. But I guess Whitney Houston would probably be the guilty pleasure.

You can’t say anything bad about her, but like if my teammates heard it they’d give me a little something.


What’s your ‘sing-in-the-shower’ song?

Clarkson: I’m not a “sing-in-the-shower” kind of dude.

Sexton: I sing in the shower, and it sounds amazing. But then I try when I got of the shower and it’s like: ‘Nah.’

Osman: Sometimes really hard to learn English, so it’s a Turkish song – and I’m not gonna give it!

Frye: “She Got the Juice” by Chromeo.

Nance: “Ordinary People” by John Legend.

Zizic: I take a quick shower. There’s no time for singing.


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