Hip-hop mogul Master P is no stranger to high-level basketball. Out of high school, he earned a scholarship to the University of Houston. He shifted focus to his music career, but he has made cameos in some small basketball leagues, and in the late 1990s, played for the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors during the preseason.
Now, he has expressed interest in a new role within the NBA: head coach. The New Orleans Pelicans fired Stan Van Gundy and are looking to go in a bold new direction as they look to capitalize on a talented but raw young team built around Zion Williamson.
Getting Zion to commit to small-market New Orleans for the long term, something they failed to do with another former No. 1 pick, Anthony Davis, will be on paramount importance to the franchise. Master P, a Louisiana native, thinks he has the goods to do so, and connect to other young stars in general.
"I think it's time," he told TMZ Sports. "They gotta do something different, unique... I played in the NBA, I done coached a lot of great players that are in the league. I done took my sons from being high school athletes to maybe they'll be the next future big-time pro athletes."
As a coach, Master P's claim to fame is coaching NBA star DeMar DeRozan at the AAU level. He's served as a mentor to the San Antonio Spurs guard since he was in middle school.In 2017, he told TMZ that he was in discussions to join Alvin Gentry's Pelicans staff.
Gentry was fired after the 2019-20 season, missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five season. P says that he believes Gentry would still be there if he was on staff, but now he has his sights on the head role, drawing an interesting cross-sport comparison to Tim Tebow's ongoing NFL comeback attempt.
"We'll win and Zion will be happy," P said. "Everything! I feel like it's motivating the players and understanding them, that's the most important thing."
"You look at Tim Tebow, they brought him to play as a tight end because they looking at times is changing."
"The NBA is entertainment. I think it's time for me to be the first hip-hop coach."
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Brooklyn Nets assistants Jacque Vaughn and Ime Udoka, Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee, and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd are all involved in the New Orleans Pelicans search. Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer adds Pelicans assistants Teresa Weatherspoon and Fred Vinson as "serious candidates."