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'Different side of me': Kings rookie Bagley plays to his own beat and raps to it, too

Kings introduce Marvin Bagley III: 'I've worked my whole life for this'

The Sacramento Kings introduce their 2018 draft pick, Marvin Bagley III on June 23, 2018 at the Golden 1 Center.
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The Sacramento Kings introduce their 2018 draft pick, Marvin Bagley III on June 23, 2018 at the Golden 1 Center.

Athletes have no problem going to Twitter or Instagram to tell "their" side of a story.

Marvin Bagley III would prefer a microphone.

"You have people who like to draw, who do yoga, run, jog and just do different things," said the Kings rookie forward. "I think music is my way of showing people a different side of me, telling my story, how I got to this position that I'm in. Just showing the people in the world a different side of me."

Bagley was the Kings' first-round selection, second overall, in Thursday's NBA draft. He's joining a locker room with teammates who take music seriously – and not just as a way to pass time.

Bagley, the All-American from Duke, released his mixtape "Don't Blink" the day before the draft.

Guard Iman Shumpert released rap EP "Substance Abuse" in April and his wife, singer Teyana Taylor, debuted her new album this week. Forward Zach Randolph is big into music, too, but behind the scenes and not on the microphone. He supported a lot of artists in the Memphis rap scene.

"We love it, we like to support and try to find a way we can help," said Kings general manager Vlade Divac.

Divac also referenced center Willie Cauley-Stein, an artist who has designed hats for the Kings and has a clothing line.

"We support that kind of stuff," Divac said. "Obviously we like them to know (basketball) is the priority but everything else, the talents they have, they can explore. Even the Kings Academy, we set that up for those things, so they can learn stuff during their career."

Bagley credits his father, Marvin Bagley Jr., with giving him a love for hip-hop, particularly from the 1990s.

Bagley was born in 1999, so he missed what many rap aficionados consider a golden age for the genre, but he received an education while siting in the backseat of his father's car growing up.

"I think that's where I kind of started to love music and just listen to all the rappers and all the things he'd play in the car," Bagley said. "I'd be in the back just nodding my head listening to everything, Jay-Z, Nas, 2Pac, rappers like that that helped get rap to where it is today. So I'm definitely going to continue to listen to those and study the music and study hip-hop."

Bagley's music is more than just a hobby. It allows him to take a mental break from the game. And he's already worked with accomplished producers, including 9th Wonder, who has teamed with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Mary J. Blige.

9th Wonder teaches a class on hip-hop at Duke, helping Bagley tab the well-respected producer to work with him.

Lamar and Drake are among Bagley's favorite contemporary rappers, along with J. Cole and Chance the Rapper, in addition to the rappers he studies from past generations.

Like most rappers, Bagley uses music to remind everyone he believes in himself.

Bagley is confident in his abilities, saying he was the best player in this draft. Arizona center Deandre Ayton went No. 1 overall to the Phoenix Suns, a move most predicted.

Bagley touched on the idea of not being selected first on his mixtape.

The final track "Made You Look (Remix)" is a nod to the classic Nas song released in 2002. It starts with audio of former NBA Commissioner David Stern announcing Portland had selected Greg Oden with the first pick in 2007 and ends with a clip of Kevin Durant being selected second by Seattle.

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"It's just like anyone who passes on me, it'll light a fire inside of me," Bagley said. "I'm glad I'm here in Sacramento, so it gives me a chance to grow as a player and still have that chip on my shoulder. Just get better, that's all that was about. Nothing personal, that's just how I was feeling."

Oden's career was cut short by injuries while Durant has gone on to become one of the NBA's all-time great scorers. The Kings certainly hope Bagley's career is much closer to Durant's.

But don't be fooled into believing Bagley is all about beats and lyrics and not basketball. He worked out Friday afternoon shortly after checking into his hotel and followed that with an 8 a.m. workout Saturday before fulfilling more media and community obligations.

Music, however, will remain an outlet for Bagley.

"Absolutely, it's definitely something that kind of gets my mind off of things and helps me regroup when I need to," Bagley said. "I'm looking forward to making new music and showing people another side of me."

Sacramento Kings Marvin Bagley lll is introduced at Concerts in the Park

Marvin Bagley III, picked second in the 2018 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings, arrives at the Sacramento International Airport on Friday, June 22, 2018.

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