AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 14: Elliott Wilson and recording artist Lil' Wayne speak onstage at "Lil' Wayne Interviewed by Rap Radar f
Jordan Naylor/Getty Images for SXSW

Between his boxing ring cameos, his album announcements and his general fandom for athletics, it's hardly surprising that Lil Wayne is just as passionate for sports as he is his music--and he considers the two pursuits to be more connected than you might think.

In the next issue of ESPN's magazine, Weezy goes deep on the connection between music and sports. "Athletes wanna be rappers, rappers wanna be athletes," he says in the interview. "I wanna be what I am ... Sports and music are connected by youth. Music is youth, sports is youth, and to the younger players, music is their motivating force. Also, I believe athletes want you to know who they are -- not just how they play. Music is an outlet for that."

His famous friendships came up, too. A massive Lakers fan ("I'm a Lakers die-hard, a superfanatic, and I'm super-happy on that sideline"), Lil Wayne tapped buddy Kobe Bryant back in April to release artwork for Tha Carter 5. Floyd Mayweather followed suit by posting a clip of Lil Wayne and Drake in the studio. Lil Wayne discussed both friendships with ESPN and reflected on meeting them, as "meeting athletes is the coolest." 

"Trust me -- the coolest," he says. "When we met, I told Kobe I'm a huge fan and he told me he's a huge fan, which was a total shock. He also said he likes the things I say about him in music. I think I put a song out for him -- I don't know, I've done so much music." Apparently, "Carter V Season" was Bryant's idea, too. "He came up with it. I saw that and thought, That's dope as hell, so that's what we're calling the [album] campaign. I thanked him. Then we thought about Floyd ... We knew Floyd had a fight coming up. So all eyes were on him. I have his number, so I had my homey hit him up: Can you put this video of Drake out, as a little tease? He did [on April 30]. And it worked. That s--- was crazy. I told him I appreciate him. He said he's down for whatever else. That's Floyd -- down for whatever." 

Lil Wayne went on to say that Tha Carter V is about growth, "flat-out." "My thoughts are wiser. I still say what I want to say -- it just sounds better and makes more sense. That all comes with growth and maturity." Tha Carter V's release date is still TBD.