In his spare time, Kelenna Azubuike has a hobby: He makes beats. "Yeah, I make music just for fun on my computer. I've been doing it for a while and I've gotten pretty good at it," he says with a laugh.
But making beats hasn't yet pulled him away from his day job: making baskets. The 23-year-old guard and forward is a key performer on the resurgent Golden State Warriors. On Nov. 24, he calmly hit a three-pointer in the waning seconds of overtime to steal a 100-98 road win over Philadelphia.
The road to stardom has not been without its detours for the London-born Azubuike. Undrafted out of the University of Kentucky in 2005, he was cut by two NBA squads before signing with the Fort Worth Flyers of the Developmental League. Nightly, he turned in A-performances in the D-League, averaging 26 points per contest and catching the eye of Warriors general manager Chris Mullin. He was signed by Golden State in January and is well on the road to a productive season and career.
When we caught up with Azubuike he was also on the road to Sacramento, in the back of the Warriors' team bus. Jay-Z's American Gangster was blaring and his teammates were rapping along. It was a fitting musical accompaniment, as the album is one of Azubuike's 2007 favorites:
Jay-Z, American Gangster
I think it's really creative how Jay-Z took the movie and applied it to his life. And I just like the songs, especially "I Know." That's my favorite.
Ne-Yo, Because of You
It's just good music, man. There are great songs on here and it makes you feel good.
Kanye West, Graduation
I think it's a quality album. I like how he's changed it up; I like it when an artist makes some changes and is not coming out with the same thing every time. I thought his first album [The College Dropout] was probably the best one. The second one [Late Registration] I didn't like as much. It was all right. But this one, he's reinvented himself and gotten better lyrically. Now when I'm in a good mood I listen to Kanye's "Good Life" song.
Talib Kweli, Eardrum
This guy is such a thrill. He's got a good message all the time and there's real substance behind his music.
T.I., T.I. vs. T.I.P.
A lot of his songs get you hyped up. There's this one song of his called "Hurt," and I've listened to it before lots of games. But I'm not superstitious about that. I just listen to what I feel like.
For more top tens from Margaret Cho, Vanilla Ice, Scarface, and some other random B-listers go to All Shook Down