DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” is one of the biggest songs of the summer, but one verse from Rihanna caught the ears of sports fans around the country:
“Kitty, kitty, baby give that thing some rest
‘Cause you done beat it like the '68 Jets”
This reference seemed extremely random, as Rihanna wouldn’t be born for another 20 years after the New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts in the 1968 Super Bowl. Plus, she grew up in Barbados, where American football is non-existent.
While this has prompted accusations on social media that Rihanna will mindlessly sing whatever is put in front of her, that couldn’t be further from the case. It turns out Rihanna is actually a huge sports fan and has been making obscure sports references in her songs for years. Here are six we were able to find:
1) “Bitch Better Have My Money” (2015)
“I hustle hard, y’all know I’m a killa
Pay me forever like I’m Bobby Bonilla”
Rihanna is referencing the infamous contract of Bobby Bonilla with the New York Mets, when the team decided to defer $5.9 million owed to him for the 2000 season. Now, with interest kicking in, they have to pay Bonilla yearly installments of nearly $1.2 million until 2035 (for $29.8 million total), which really does seem forever.
2) “Good Girl Gone Bad” (2008)
“Good girl gone bad but they wanted me to stay
Take out the devil and make me a ray”
When this song and album of the same name came out in 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays had just changed their team name from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Rihanna’s allusion to the team’s dropping of the “devil” from their identity may have been lost on most ears, but not on ours!
3) “Diamonds” (2012)
“I like my rings real big with a stone
I ain’t Elgin Baylor or Karl Malone”
Rihanna wasn’t holding back at all here, as she savagely referenced two of the greatest basketball players to never win a ring (an NBA championship). This is definitely a sore spot for these guys, but clearly, Rihanna has no chill.
4) “Needed Me” (2016)
“You been runnin’ around tryna get me
But you Brock and me Rickey”
Rihanna is comparing herself to MLB’s all-time stolen base leader Rickey Henderson, who finished with an incredible 1,406 swiped bags, nearly 500 more than the second place holder Lou Brock. What’s certain is that when it comes to sports knowledge, no one is catching up to RiRi there!
5) “Stay” (2012)
“Made a mistake but you remember just the one
And not my perfection. Gary Anderson.”
Rihanna is referencing former NFL kicker Gary Anderson, who is best remembered for his missed 39-yard field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship Game for the Minnesota Vikings. A successful kick would have essentially clinched the game and a trip to the Super Bowl for Minnesota, who went on to lose the game to the Atlanta Falcons. Anderson was the only kicker in NFL history to be completely perfect in the regular season, making every attempted field goal and extra point, but all his credit for that went out the window with the fateful miss. Life can be unfair sometimes.
6) “Shut Up and Drive” (2008)
“Booking down the freeway, you’d think I’m delirious
Driving all day for miles like I’m Darius”
In her most obscure sports reference to date, Rihanna decided to name-drop Darius Miles, a talented yet immensely underachieving NBA small forward, who averaged 10.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game over seven seasons for four teams from 2000-2009. Not sure what to make of this one.
Clearly, Rihanna’s encyclopedic sports knowledge should never be questioned again. Did we miss any other of her sports references? Let us know in the comments!