Brandon Perkins, Staff Writer

Sports and music go hand in hand. You don’t have one without the other. Whenever you go to the arena to see your favorite teams play, music usually accompanies the action. Music stars and athletes have long had partnerships and relationships with each other. This dates to the relationship between Tupac Shakur and Mike Tyson, Jack Nicholson’s love of the Lakers, and Bill Murray’s dedication to The Chicago Cubs to name a few.  So, the sudden murder of rapper and community leader Nipsey Hussle hit home with many of the nation’s biggest star athletes and caused many to speak out against senseless violence and to preserve the legacy of Hussle, whose real name is Ermias Joseph Asghedom.

One athlete, Russell Westbrook, has gone far regarding his dedication to the legend. Westbrook is from the same neighborhood as Hussle and understands the language being communicated in Hussle’s music. There are many videos on social media and other media outlets of the two talking to each other courtside during Westbrook’s games, the two volunteering their time at benefit events, and the two at Hussle’s store, The Marathon, for different media related events.

On the day Hussle died, Westbrook posted a picture of Hussle on his Instagram with the caption “You’re One Of One Bro!!! Rest Up King.”  Westbrook dedicated his performance of his next game to Hussle. Playing the Los Angeles Lakers, which was Hussle’s hometown team and the team Westbrook grew up rooting for. He scored a rare 20, 20, 20.  20 points, 21 assist and 20 rebounds. This represents the number 60 which represent the area Hussle is from. After the game, Westbrook was seen yelling “That’s for Nipsey!!!”

Hussle was a longtime supporter of the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers. He was a frequent courtside guest when both teams played. Both teams honored the late star during recent games. Lebron James took to social media to speak on his death. James wrote, “Just spoke with you the other day on text bro! Telling you how proud I was of you and how I was gone get you to more Laker games next season. Been a stand-up dude from day 1. May you rest in paradise young king. This one hurts big time.” In a recent interview James not only called the murder an inner city/urban tragedy, but one of the most tragic events in American history. James stated, “You tap into that gift and know what that gift and you know what your gift is, then you give back and continue to give back to where you’re from and to see it taken from someone who didn’t have the same ambition and motivation but come from the same place is what we have to deal with in our community.”

However, Hussle’s reach was beyond basketball. He impacted players in Major League Baseball as well including the New York Mets’ Dominic Smith who posted a picture of Hussle on social media stating, “It’ll never be the same, Hussle The Great.” Smith was to meet with Hussle this summer for advice and mentorship as the young athlete’s careers is blossoming. With both coming from poverty Smith saw the value of learning from him Hussle and understood how much he would gain from someone who understands how to handle becoming a celebrity and balancing it with community involvement.

Houston Rockets star James Harden is also affected by the tragic loss. Harden stated that the two were recently working together and were to release projects. Harden vowed to continue and release the work. Other star athletes including Odell Beckham Jr, Shaq, Deion Sanders, Todd Gurley, Shannon Sharpe, Donovan Mitchell, Steph Curry and many others have all made dedications to the slain artist.