Tupac Shakur will go down as one of the greatest ever rappers and larger than life characters the hip hop world will ever know. His tragic death in 1996 at the age of just 25 sent shockwaves through the music and movie industries and is still officially an unsolved homicide.
He is rightly lauded for his wide variety of rap styles that produced countless classic albums. He was also regarded as a very accomplished actor and virtually started off the whole rap/movie crossover. But little is known about his sports affiliations. He was a fan of casinos and was known to frequent the Las Vegas sportsbooks – but do we know which teams he got behind?
Tupac was born in New York City in 1971 but moved to Baltimore in his early teens, before upping sticks once again in 1988 for the Bay Area. He obviously also spent a lot of time in Los Angeles towards the end of his life after being released from prison and signing with Death Row. But did he rep any of those cities’ teams?
Pac was never really seen in New York gear, even though he was born in the sports-mad city. Respect for the Lakers would be understandable, given their standing in the hoops game. But he may have liked the Bay Area teams as he spent some formative time there. It’s just a pity that the Warriors were so bad back then!
What is known about Tupac when it comes to sports, is that he loved boxing. It is not surprising that such a complex character would be drawn to a sport that pits a man on his own talents and lays them bare for all to see. In many ways the world of boxing can be compared to the rap game – and it has many crossovers.
Tupac was seen at many of the big fights in Las Vegas in the early to mid 1990s, enjoying the lifestyle and casinos that went along with the fight nights. But the sport will also forever be linked with his untimely demise. It was after a Mike Tyson fight on September 7th 1996 that Tupac was shot in a drive-by shooting, dying six days later.
Tupac’s death was not only a loss to the music world, cinema also lost a true star. He is well known for his performances in films like Juice and Gridlock’d, but his role as a drug dealing basketball coach in Above the Rim overlapped his talents and sports – and was absolutely mesmerizing.
As a recruiter who would do anything to get the player he wanted, Tupac portrayed a psychopath on a mission with zeal. He was able to show a multi-dimensional insight into what could have been a run-of-the-mill gangster type. It may not have revealed any basketball allegiances, but it was one of Tupac’s best performances.
Fashion More Than Sports Affiliations
When searching for clues about teams that Tupac may have liked, many observers point to the sports team merchandise he wore throughout his career. In later years he barely seemed to wear shirts or jerseys at all, but there are famous photos of him wearing a Detroit Red Wings hockey jersey, for example.
Tupac was also photographed wearing baseball caps with logos of both the Oakland A’s and the Chicago White Sox. But all of these images point to the fashion of hip hop at the time, rather than to any deep-rooted love of the teams. Hip hop culture has always utilized sportswear and Tupac was just following those trends.
Although it is difficult to prove that Tupac liked any particular sports team, there is one story that proves how he saw sports in general as a force for good. It also demonstrates how this complex man, who was typically portrayed in a one-dimensional way, was all about the community.
Way before celebrities were getting involved in sports, Tupac came up with the idea of setting up a series of sports leagues with famous rappers of the day associated with different teams. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though the idea ever got off the ground. Tupac may not have been a huge sports fan after all – but he did love the way it brought people together.