There's an ongoing conversation in hip-hop lyrics about being the biggest boss. Rick Ross believes that he's "the biggest boss that we've seen thus far." Drake says, "Besides Ricky Ross, I'm the biggest boss here."
But when you ask T.J. "Boss" Ward whether he's a bigger boss than Rick Ross, he believes it's all relative.
"It depends on who you ask," Ward said.
The nickname "Boss Ward" was given to him while he was a football player at Oregon and it's a nickname that he believes fits perfectly.
"I got the name in college from some teammates and, after making it my video gamertag, other people just started to call me 'Boss,'" Ward said. "Now I just feel like it's the way I carry myself on the field and off the field. In every aspect, I'm a boss."
For Ward, being a boss requires more than just balling out on the football field. He also keeps his pinkies and neck iced out with jewelry to emphasize his boss status.
"If you ask Aqib [Talib] whether or not I have a lot of jewelry, he would probably say no," Ward said. "Actually I don't know we might have about the same. I like to stay iced out, though."
Even though he got his nickname while at Oregon, it can be said that Ward has been a boss since he was growing up in the Bay Area. While he was a star on the football field, he also grew to love basketball and became a loyal fan of his hometown basketball team, the Golden State Warriors.
His favorite player, and arguably the biggest boss of the NBA, Steph Curry, absolutely dominated against the Pelicans in their third regular-season matchup. Last season's MVP dropped 53 points in the Warriors' 134-120 win in New Orleans -- 28 of them in the second half.
"Oh yeah, my boy went off," Ward said, who has a Warriors tattoo inked on his rib cage. "I think we're going to win another championship and Steph Curry is going to repeat MVP, as long as he stays healthy."
Ward's love of his hometown isn't only engraved in his skin, it's also evident in the way he talks. If you scroll through the two-time Pro Bowler's Instagram feed, there is a wealth of Bay Area lingo that goes beyond any person that isn't East Bay savvy.
On a picture of him in an olive green suit and fedora he says, "I'm dipped when you see me!" So, what does that mean?
"That means fresh. Kind of like sauced, like, I'm dipped in butter," Ward said. "Mac Dre has a song that says, 'I'm dipped when you see me.' So, when you say that you're dipped or dipped in sauce or dipped in butter that's what it means. You can be dipped in whatever you want to dip in."
"Nah. That stuff stinks. You have to be dipped in something smooth like ranch or Italian dressing," he said. "Actually, just say sauce or butter."