Basketball and hip-hop go hand in hand. From Kurtis Blow’s 1980’s hit “Basketball” to countless lyrical mentions of A.I., Kobe, Jordan and more on songs, rap is the unofficial soundtrack to the NBA. It took decades for NBA teams to catch on and actually put DJ’s in the arena’s, starting with DJ Bedz in Denver and continuing on with MICK and DJ Irie in Cleveland and Miami. Now, DJ’s playing hip-hop at hoop games is the norm.
Spinning for a singular team, fan base and region is difficult enough, but doing so for multiple teams in different cities each and every weekend takes a special set of skills. Radio host, club DJ, Television host, sports fanatic and business man DJ Skee has just the background to get that job done. As the official DJ for Ice Cube’s BIG3 league, Skee is in charge of not only keeping the crowd rocking every Saturday, but a whole lot more.
“This is by far the most intense gig I have ever had,” says Skee. “There is way more music than any other sporting event–nearly every play and a 14-second shot clock. Plus, BIG3 is essentially a startup, I have had to take on what are usually multiple rolls. Not only am I DJing, I’m running in game music cues, sound boards, sound FX, player intros, artist (and halftime) performers, communicating with the producers, and assisting with talent. It is super fun though.”
The thing about a traveling league is that different regions like different music, the audience in Brooklyn may not vibe to what the people in Charlotte rock to. Having DJed all around the world Skee knows how to please each city the league goes to. For example, during a recent Dallas, TX stop, Skee warmed the crowd up with all classic Texas music. To top it off, he brought out Houston legend Trae the Truth and Dallas’ own Dorrough at halftime.
In addition to his work in front of the camera, Skee’s worked as a producer and/or executive producer for multiple shows including his own SKEE TV program. When Ice Cube’s team approached him to work on BIG3, it allowed him to merge two of his loves, entertainment and sports.
This Los Angeles, by way of Minnesota guy is a serious sports fan. “I can’t get rid of the childhood memories of the ’91 Twins, ’98 Vikings, KG’s rookie year with the Timberwolves, and so many other memories,” says Skee. Given the Wolves, Vikings and Twins struggles over the last few seasons it would be easy for Skee to switch sides and root for his new home but he says his loyalty keeps him grounded to his childhood, and it always will no matter where he goes. That loyalty was rewarded in 2016 when the local St. Paul, MN municipality officially declared May 26th as DJ Skee Day.
Over the first few weeks in its existence, BIG3 has improved dramatically and in turn given hoop fans a viable alternative basketball league. Being front and center to watch ex-NBA players and some future Hall of Fame players compete is an incredible experience for Skee. When asked who he’d like to see play in BIG 3 next season he said, “Of course some of the greats like Kobe, Paul Pierce, Baron Davis, Tim Duncan, Ray Allen, etc. But I’d love to see a T’wolves reunion of KG & Marbury.”
We’d all like to see those big names suit up one more time, but in the meantime, fans have a few more chances to catch the likes of Mike Bibby, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington and more compete in the last few weeks of the inaugural BIG3 season. Cube’s league plays in Los Angeles this weekend, Seattle on August 20th for the playoffs and August 26th in Las Vegas for the Championship Finals. The BIG3 League games are televised on FS1 Network every Monday’s at 8PM and of course DJ Skee will be in the mix keeping the crowd hyped between buckets.