The 2017-2018 UNC basketball team is going to be led by two seniors who take pride in their musicality:
So with that in mind, I think it’s totally necessary to match up these two seniors, as well as their teammates, to this year’s songs of the summer, the one season when they aren’t doing too much.
Disclaimer: Nobody gets “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar because it would be unfair to the rest of the team.
Theo Pinson - That’s What I Like, Bruno Mars (NSFW, mildly inappropriate language)
Even though Joel Berry already had the Bruno Mars connection (see video above), this song’s swagger and confident attitude are a perfect match for Pinson’s demeanor on and off the court. He carries himself like he can do anything he likes, and do it well, just like the narrator of the song, and lucky for us, helping his team win games is what he likes.
Joel Berry - Despacito, Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee
Even though the easy connection would be between this song’s stronghold on #1 on the charts and Pinson’s #1 on his jersey, I like to go a little bit deeper. “Despacito” has a bit of an interesting chart history: As originally released, entirely in Spanish, it was very successful for a Latin crossover, slowly rising from #88 to #44 over the course of 13 weeks. Its momentum was slowing, however, and many predicted that it had peaked and was ready to leave the American pop charts, just as many were predicting that Berry would leave UNC for the draft. Then, the now-famous remix featuring Justin Bieber was released, and the song immediately became a smash hit, rising to #1 in the country within a month, mirroring Berry’s immediate decision post-declaration to return to UNC. We can only hope that he has the same success upon his return.
Luke Maye - Believer, Imagine Dragons
I mean, this one’s kind of obvious, right? After initially arriving on campus with very little expected of him, and a freshman year that was fairly light on minutes, over the course of his sophomore year, he turned the entirety of Tar Heel Nation into, ahem, believers, punctuating his year with moments like this one:
and, of course, this one:
Despite several detractors along the way asking why Maye was the first big man off the bench at times, why he got more minutes than some thought he deserved, and other such questions, Maye continued to improve throughout the season and is slated to be a starter for the 2017 edition of the Tar Heels.
Kenny Williams - Redbone, Childish Gambino (NSFW, strongly inappropriate language)
Just like this funk track that somehow exists and is popular in the 2010’s, Williams is a bit of a throwback in terms of his playing style. What sticks out most is his old-school shooting stroke, as he prefers the two-motion jump shot more popular in the 80’s and early 90’s to the one-motion shot that is usually taught nowadays. Compare his jumper to Brandon Robinson’s:
But other aspects of his game seem like they were taken from previous eras as well, such as his apparent aversion to dunking in games and his somewhat unusual bulk for a guard. Similarly, Redbone comes from a genre that had all but died out. But quality always wins out, and despite their unorthodoxy, both are succeeding in their respective fields.
Jalek Felton - Wild Thoughts, DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller
Wild Thoughts is the newest song in the Billboard top 20, and seems to be primed to rule the airwaves (alongside Despacito, obviously) for the next couple of months, based on its massive opening numbers and the chart’s trends right now. In the same way, five-star combo guard Felton will headline UNC’s 2017 freshman class, and hopefully be able to play above his competition alongside his teammates on the perimeter. Like that of the song, his performance is an unknown, but all signs are that it’s going to be good. And I’m sure all of us, at some point, have had our thoughts run wild at the thought of what he could do in Carolina blue.
And with that, I’ll see myself out. Agree? Disagree? Have some other suggestions? Let me know!
All songs were taken from the latest Billboard Hot 100 Chart, which was updated June 27th, 2017. Due to a quirk in Billboard’s indexing system, the chart is listed as being for the week of July 8th, 2017