Master P's NBA Career: How The No Limit CEO Broke Into The League

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2017 Essence Festival - Celebrity Charity Basketball Game
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JUNE 29: Rapper Master P at 2017 Essence Festival - Celebrity Charity Basketball Game at Xavier University Convocation Center on June 29, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
Master P’s reach extends far beyond the music industry.

Believe it or not, rap icon Master P has history with the NBA. In the late ‘90s, the music industry witnessed an unprecedented crossover as the rap mogul set his sights on an unexpected arena: the basketball court. Breaking away from the confines of his booming music career, he embarked on a daring journey into the NBA. While it looked impossible, Master P has already proven with his previous endeavors that he’s no ordinary talent. 

Decades have passed, and it seems one of his sons has picked up the athletic torch from Master P. Mercy Miller, 18, recently set an all-time school record for Notre Dame High after scoring 68 points in a game. Obviously, the young baller is a gifted athlete and may likely have a basketball career that surpasses his father’s. Master P’s history with professional basketball is relatively short. Nonetheless, his stint in that field remains iconic and surprises most who hear about it for the first time. Here’s how the No Limit CEO broke into the league. 

Master P Before The NBA

Master P during Billboard Awards '98 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

A luminary of the entertainment world, Master P emerged from the gritty streets of New Orleans to become a juggernaut in the music industry. In 1991, he founded No Limit Records, an independent label that soon became a powerhouse. With chart-topping artists like Snoop Dogg, Mystikal, and himself, Master P is a dominant force in the Hip Hop industry. However, his ambitions extended beyond music.

Master P had a lifelong passion for basketball, having played at a high level during his youth. Although he dropped out mere months in, he got into the University of Houston on an athletic scholarship. Following his departure from the University of Houston, he moved to Merritt College, Oakland, where he majored in Business. However, despite his decision to focus on business, he never lost his passion for basketball. 

In 1998, the rapper joined the Fort Wayne Fury in the CBA (Continental Basketball Association). The person who helped make that happen was an employee of No Limits Records called Tim Redo. Being that Redo was friends with Keith Smart, the head coach of the CBA’s Fort Wayne Fury, he could put in a good word for his boss. That was the beginning of Master P’s journey into professional basketball. 

He exhibited proficiency on the field, though he didn't quite reach superstar status in the minor league. Regardless, Master P was undeterred by skeptics who doubted his ability to transition into the NBA and decided to pursue his dream head-on. 

Training & Tryouts

In early 1999, the rapper got his chance when he joined the Charlotte Hornets’ training camp roster. To prepare for the NBA, Master P dedicated himself to the intense training regimen provided. Although his time with the Hornets was short, he participated in scrimmages and even appeared in two exhibition games against the Atlanta Hawks. The rapper did not play college basketball and was significantly older than most rookies. However, Master P showcased his skills and demonstrated that he could hold his own on the court against NBA prospects.

In the summer of 1999, he finally earned a spot on the preseason roster of the Toronto Raptors. He participated in the preseason game for the Raptors against the Vancouver Grizzlies and even scored eight points off the bench but was ultimately let go before the season started. After being dropped by the Raptors, for a short while, he went on to play with the San Diego Stingrays of the International Basketball League later that year. 

Legacy Beyond The Court

Unfortunately, Master P did not fulfill his dream of joining the NBA despite coming very close. His basketball career was short-lived, and the teams waived him before the season even began. Also, he never managed to formally sign an NBA contract or secure a spot on a regular-season roster. However, his journey remains a testament to the power of determination and its ability to break barriers. Additionally, Master P has since coached three NBA pros: DeMar DeRozan, Lance Stephenson, and Brandon Jennings. While he may not have been able to see his NBA career come to fruition, Master P significantly contributed to the careers of these three players. 

Conclusion

Master P’s NBA career may have been unconventional and short-lived, but it remains an intriguing chapter in the larger story of the rapper. The No Limit CEO’s brief stint in professional basketball is a part of the impressive legacy he has built for himself over the years. His foray into professional basketball has certainly added to his versatile public image as a rapper, entrepreneur, and athlete. Without a doubt, it was a great moment in history to witness the multifaceted talents of an icon. 

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About The Author
Demilade Phillips has been a Features Writer for HotNewHipHop since 2023. The self-proclaimed music fanatic deals with most things Hip Hop and RnB, while also covering film, television, and the entertainment industry at large. When he’s not working, the International Relations graduate is either binging anime, immersing himself in the underground EDM scene, or crafting up original pieces.