Ice Cube on Oakland Raiders' revival: 'The clowning is over'

 Ice Cube loves the Oakland Raiders
 Ice Cube loves the Oakland Raiders

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    Ice Cube loves the Oakland Raiders

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Ice Cube loves the Oakland Raiders 04:41

Story highlights

  • Raiders to play Texans in wildcard round
  • Last reached playoffs in 2002-03 season
  • Ice Cube's son supports Baltimore

(CNN)"Ain't nobody laughing now."

Ice Cube is enjoying this. After years of misery, his beloved Oakland Raiders are finally back in the NFL playoffs.
"All the clowning we had to endure over the last decade -- that's over," the rapper, actor and filmmaker told CNN's World Sport show ahead of Saturday's AFC wildcard round clash with Houston Texans.
"You live for these moments, to get in everybody's faces and let 'em know: 'We back -- the Raiders is back.' It's good to be in this position, and hopefully we can win a couple of playoff games."
The Raiders last reached the playoffs in the 2002-03 season, losing in the Super Bowl, and the third of their titles was another two decades before that.
"It was painful, but that's what I love about sports -- I'm a diehard fan, not a fair-weather fan," the 47-year-old, whose real name is O'Shea Jackson, says of his long wait.
"I was happy with just supporting the team, seeing us grow, seeing us trying to get back on track."
The self-styled "President of the Raider Nation" has done his part to back the team, recording rap tunes such as "Come And Get It" to rouse the long-suffering fans.
"Music and sports -- that's a marriage made in heaven. Without music, sports is just a game," the former NWA member explains.
"The music adds excitement, it gives you a backdrop, gives you theme music, gives you all the energy -- that's why guys come out with their headphones on, because the music gets them ready to play."
However, Ice Cube's Raider passion doesn't necessarily extend to the rapper's family -- his son Shareef is a Baltimore Ravens fan.
"I was shooting a movie called 'Triple X State of the Union' and we were in Baltimore," he recalls.
"He was a youngster, about four or five years old, so I decided to take him to a Ravens-Steelers game, and he just fell in love with Ray Lewis, he fell in love with Jonathan Odgen and the whole atmosphere in Baltimore.
"So he's a Ravens fan now, and I've been trying to get him to become a Raiders fan for about 10 years now and it hasn't worked. I'm gonna keep chippin' away."
The Raiders go to Texas with a 12-4 regular-season record, and missing the services of injured first-choice quarterback Derek Carr.
However, Ice Cube is backing 23-year-old Connor Cook to shine as he becomes the first rookie quarterback to make his first NFL start in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era.
"It's going to be tough, but that's why he's a professional. He's had a whole season to sit back and observe," the Los Angeles native says.
"If Dak Prescott can come in and win 10 or so games for the Cowboys, I believe our guy Cook can come in and win three or four for the Raiders. I got confidence."
While Ice Cube says he has no plans to invest financially in the Raiders -- whose owners want to move the franchise to Las Vegas -- he is launching a new sporting project next week. "The Big 3" is a pro competition that he says will feature ex-NBA players going three-on-three on a half-court.
"It's going to be real exciting. This thing is snowballing into something great."
And that's exactly what Raiders fans are hoping this season will deliver.