“Most ballers have been losers when they try to parlay a NBA career into hip-hop dreams,” declares the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s John Petkovic – himself, no stranger to the microphone. “Kobe, A.I. and Ron Artest, Shaq Diesel, anyone?” John, you’re forgetting Brian Scalabrine.

Joe Smith, considered one of the NBA’s all-around nice guys, tries to split the difference by mixing tales of apocalypse in da ‘hood with happy-go-lucky boasts about, well, being all sorts of things: a rapper, a baller, a pimp and a mackin’ ladies man.

What saves Smith, er, I mean, Beast from the b-ball hip-hop hall of shame is a sense of humor.

“I never been a drug dealer/But I know true killers, criminals and murderers and Pittsburgh Steelers,” he raps. He never reveals which are worse. (He doesn’t have to; we know it’s the Steelers.)

Even when Smith is mackin’ in the clubs and the crib, he rolls out a sense of humor to go with his bottle of Petrone:

“Got girls looking at me like he’s that dude/Tall and sexy, he’s so cute, plus I know he plays ball so he got loot/Heard that before, put ’em all on mute.”

The other Joe Beast was presumably, unavailable for comment.