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Music and Basketball: A Glimpse of Denzel Valentine’s Life

While juggling life as a professional athlete, NBA player Denzel Valentine still finds a way to add music into the mix.

Five years after being the No. 14 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, 27-year-old Valentine released his first album on Valentine’s Day. Eight months later on Oct. 22, he dropped another single titled “Be Mine” which can be listened to here.

In an interview with Valentine, he shared more insight about the background, struggles, aspirations, and creative process when it comes to his music.

Where do you get your inspiration from for music?

DV: From my upbringing and the feeling music gives you when you listen. Just to create my own unique vibe.

Is there anyone you’re trying to collaborate with in the future?

DV: Drake and Young Thug.

At what point in your life were you like yeah, I’m doing this, music is for me?

DV: In high school free styling with my team and I snapped in front of all my friends.

What was your life like growing up and how did it affect your path to music?

DV: Lower middle class on the westside of Lansing. Definitely had all we needed though. Really close family between mom, dad and brother. Heavy on basketball and football. Also raised in church. God, family, school and sports were preached constantly to us in that order. My parents were tough on us because they knew we had bright futures. Used music to motivate us a lot and to get going daily. So I love music and how it gets me going sometimes. So to be able to create my own unique style and vibe of music is dope to me.

What does your creative process look like when it comes to music?

DV: When I’m feeling it, I hit up my engineer and then when he arrives, play beats. Maybe sip some wine if feeling it and freestyle. Come up with a vibe with mumbles on a beat, then finish it either that night or the next time I get in. Then sometimes if I’m in the mood, look up beats on YouTube, then write a song or a verse. I can do both depending on my mood, emotions, or what I’m going through at that moment.

What’s the most difficult aspect of being a professional athlete and musical artist?

DV: Dealing with the daily pressures of our job then at the same time being able to be free minded enough to create. Also having to be in the spotlight and be judged.

How was it like creating and releasing your first album?

DV: It was dope. I created most of it during the pandemic so I had time to sit, focus and create the album. It was a fun but slow process. I didn’t know how much time and patience goes into creating a whole album. It’s more than you think because it takes a lot of time. I was a little nervous about the release because it was my first project but it was a great turn out! Released it on Valentine’s Day and got great feedback.

Where do you hope to see your music career in the next 5 years?

DV: I see me working with a couple big name artists and also having a couple albums out. I want to create a song that people can play out at a bar or club that gets popular. Billboard top 100 would be the dream. I want to have my own record label too as well. Sign kids from Lansing or just give an opportunity to people who have talent but never get exposure from where I grew up at.

While playing professionally for one passion and getting creative for another, Valentine has a positive outlook on the future and is working to achieve his goals whether in the NBA or as an artist. Valentine is currently working on another album that’s half done and will be released sometime this year.


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