The Gambling Life of Joyner Lucas, Who Thinks the Celtics Are Going For the Chip

The last time the Celtics were in the NBA Finals, Worcester, Massachusetts-born and bred rapper Joyner Lucas put his money where his mouth is. He bet $50,000 on the Celtics—who were favored against an aging, less athletic, slightly battered Warriors team—with his friend and collaborator, Bay Area legend E-40. As the series went on, and the Celtics’ fortunes slowly faded, 40 tried multiple times to call the bet off, looking out for his friend, but Joyner wouldn’t hear of it. Lucas even got to perform at halftime of Game 6, followed shortly thereafter by the Celtics losing the series, and Lucas losing the bet. Promptly after the series, Lucas wired 40 the money, which he told Billboard he used to “redo my swimming pool.”

Perhaps that display of genuineness and integrity explains why Joyner Lucas has been able to secure so many impressive features in his career. In an industry filled with rappers sparing in their praise for peers, he’s an unabashed fan, which has led many times to the rapper in question reaching out to make music. Arguably, his biggest collaboration was with Will Smith in 2020, who contributed a rare verse to the remix of Lucas’ tribute, “Will”.

So this Finals—which, at 3-0 press time, has all signs pointing to the Celtics grabbing their 18th banner—is a big one for Joyner. It’s been a good couple of weeks for the rapper overall—Will Smith returned the favor, and gave Joyner what he calls his “second movie acting debut” in the blockbuster smash, Bad Boys: Ride or Die.

At GQ, we love to talk gambling with rappers, so a few weeks ago, the very chill and gregarious Joyner was kind and generous enough to spend some unfettered time talking Celtics odds, playing pool with DMX, and very nearly divulging his system for roulette.

GQ: How are you feeling about the Celtics this year?

Joyner Lucas: Celtics are looking good.

You think? Chip? Finals?

I talked to Tatum the other day. He said he was going for the chip. So I said, I hope so, because I lost $50,000 because of the Celtics.

Have you made that back yet?

[Long, incredulous glare from Joyner and his team]

Excuse me. Not in terms of income, in terms of gambling revenue.

Oh! Gambling. Have I made that back yet? Yeah, I believe we made that back.

Do you bet frequently?

I really be like—yeah, I do. I’ve slowed down a little bit because I be having some bad luck sometimes, but I do. I’m more like, going to the casino, playing roulette, shit like that.

So you’re more of a casino guy?

Yeah, I’m more of a casino type of guy for sure.

So I’m assuming, or at least hoping, the Finals bet with 40 was the most you ever lost? What’s the most you’ve ever made?

On a bet? I usually just be losing, to keep it real. I just be losing, bro. I don’t even be winning like that. I’d be putting up 50K here and 50K there. That’s like the second or third time I lost 50K on a bet.

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