You could say that Oklahoma Sooners softball legend Lauren Chamberlain is obsessed with rap music. Now, she's in the same organization as legendary rapper Lil Wayne.
The all-time home run leader in college softball electrified the sport in 2013 when she led Oklahoma to the Women's College World Series title. Five years later, she's changing the game again.
Chamberlain is opening doors for professional softball players through her new affiliation with emerging sports agency Young Money APAA, which is headed up by Lil Wayne.
It's a perfect match for Chamberlain, who was previously represented by Players Rep. Then, after Young Money APAA acquired Players Rep, Chamberlain was welcomed into the Young Money family.
"There's no way you say no to Weezy!" Chamberlain told FloSports in a recent interview. "With how easy the transition was for the athletes and how big of an opportunity it is to be represented by the best rapper alive, it made it an easy decision to trust and see it through."
Chamberlain Looking To Open New Doors
Softball is exploding, especially at the collegiate level, where multiple schools set attendance records during the 2017 regular season. Then, during the postseason, Chamberlain's alma mater went to battle against Florida in an epic 18-inning WCWS game that captivated the sports world.
Now the goal is credibility for professional softball, plus more exposure for the sport on a mainstream level through Chamberlain's affiliation with Young Money.
"I believe that female athletes, in particular softball players, being represented by a reputable agency gets more eyes on the given sport, and in this case the NPF (National Pro Fastpitch)," Chamberlain told FloSoftball.
"You see it in women's basketball and soccer: individuals with influence are personally interacting with the players and actually getting to see them play. What a female athlete wants is to be seen, so that they can be respected. Because they will gain respect. In turn, players' personalities and athletic abilities are landing them bigger deals. Exposure is key to the growth of our league, and if we can get more people — and different industries like music and entertainment getting engaged — I feel that it can only help us."
Chamberlain is leading the next progression for a sport that stands on the shoulders of legends and mainstream figures like Lisa Fernandez, Jessica Mendoza, Cat Osterman, and Jennie Finch.
It's really interesting to see that a big contributor to the sport's future is sourced in Chamberlain's affinity for rap music.
Where Did The Love For Rap Come From?
Chamberlain describes herself as in "perpetual motion," soaking in as much information as possible. It drove her to be the best softball player in the country during her run at Oklahoma. It also drove her to memorize rap lyrics at a rapid pace.
"Rap or hip-hop used to be a challenge for me when I was younger because I'd try to memorize the lyrics as fast as I could," Chamberlain said. "I would listen to songs over and over again because it was stimulating and gave me something to do."
While in high school in California, Chamberlain especially connected with Lil Wayne, whose late-to-early 2000s albums "Tha Carter III," "I am Not a Human Being," and "Tha Carter IV" were always playing in her car while driving with friends.
Chamberlain also tapped into other Young Money artists Drake and Nicki Minaj: "Drake has literally had an album for every breakup I've been through. I think I memorized Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday' album in like three days. It's been Young Money since I can remember."
So, what's on Chamberlain's current Young Money playlist?
(1) A Milli (Lil Wayne)
(2) Did It On'em (Nicki Minaj)
(3) Best I Ever Had (Drake)
(4) The Motto (Drake/Lil Wayne)
(5) 3 Peat (Lil Wayne)
It's come full circle for Chamberlain. A decade ago, she was just memorizing rap albums while living the California high school life. Now, she's represented by Young Money APAA as one of the most recognized softball stars in the U.S.
Because Lil Wayne loves to mix in sports references in his raps, perhaps he can throw together a special song lyric for one of his agency's newest clients. You know, something about setting records and smashing homers. That would be a dream come true for Chamberlain, who is trendsetting for the sport of softball that she has represented so well throughout her career.
They ball when they can and I'm ballin' by nature
Addicted to the game like Jordan and Payton
- Lil Wayne in Tha Carter II
Written by James Caldwell