Rush In Revolution
Shooting guard-turned-singer Kareem Rush eyes an NBA comeback.
SLAM: Have you assessed your options as far as where you may end up?
KR: I thought about going overseas, I had a couple deals that I turned down. But no, there’s been no communication with [NBA] teams. Once that lockout is lifted, I’m sure there’s going to be a flood of guys trying out for teams, so I’m just going to be one of those guys, trying to get myself back into this league. I know I’m going to have a tough time, being gone for over two years, but I think once a team sees the type of shape I’m in, that will speak for itself. I’m just excited to get back on the court and play.
SLAM: How much do you talk to your younger brother, Brandon, and how proud are you of his play so far with the Pacers?
KR: He’s actually sitting next to me right now. I’m really proud of Brandon. For him, being a young guy growing up in our shadow [Kareem and JaRon’s] in Kansas City, was tough enough. But to see him grow, and win a National Championship and be a Lottery pick. He’s my little brother, so I’m definitely proud of him. I just hope he continues to do what he’s doing.
SLAM: Your older brother, JaRon, didn’t fare as well in the League. What was it like to watch him struggle?
KR: That’s something that eats at me every day. JaRon was probably the best player I’ve seen, ever. He’s the reason I got into basketball. So seeing all that he went through, it breaks my heart. But it’s one of those stories, sometimes that happens. I just want to make sure that he can live a good life, because basketball is not everything. I want to make sure he has a good life, that’s the most important thing.
SLAM: What’s it like growing up in a basketball family like that?
KR: It was very competitive early on, especially with JaRon, because JaRon was, from 8th grade to 11th grade, the No. 1 player in the country. I had to live under that shadow initially, but it drove me to work harder on my game. I didn’t want to be JaRon Rush’s little brother all my life. And I’m sure it was the same thing for Brandon. You always want to be better than your brother, to get the bragging rights, so you’ve got to be competitive.
SLAM: Did you always have a love for music? How did you take it from a hobby to the real thing?
KR: I’ve always been able to sing. Ever since I can remember, from when I was a kid, I was carrying a tune. I got to high school and did choir for a couple years. Anybody that knows me and knows me well knows that I sing all the time. So to them it was no surprise that I decided to do something with my voice. Once the injury happened, I had to decide what to do. Do I want to go back to school or do I want to pursue music? I decided to take a chance on the music and one of my good friends introduced me to a guy in the business a couple years ago. I ended up getting a deal, did a recording, and the single I put out was actually the second song I ever recorded. And then I hired a team, started my own label. I’m the first artist off Big Rush Entertainment. Like I said, I wanted to drop the album with the NBA season, so I’m waiting for the opportune time to put the album out. I want to be the first guy to have a music career and an NBA career going at the same time.
SLAM: What kind of feedback have you gotten so far from guys around the League on the music?
KR: It’s been nothing but good. I haven’t heard one bad thing about my music. My single did really well. It was spinning on some radio stations, the video is still up, I did the Mo’Nique Show, and a bunch of other appearances in New York. So yeah, the music has been really well received. Obviously at first people were a little skeptical about it, but once they hear me sing, they take it seriously.
SLAM: Compare your music to an established artist. And who are some of your musical inspirations?
KR: I would say Maxwell meets Joe. A little Robin Thicke. Adult R & B, mixed with a little bit of everything. I can do everything. You might see me with a rock song here in a few years.
SLAM: So you’re shooting a documentary?
KR: I’ve wanted to do this since a while back. The company who’s producing it did the SMU ‘Pony Express’ movie on ESPN. We actually start shooting today in L.A., and then we’re going to pitch the reel to ESPN or any other station that might want to run it.
SLAM: Of those three things—the NBA comeback, music, television—which is the hardest challenge for you at this point?
KR: I think the hardest challenge is going to be getting back into the League, just based on the labor situation. And then, I’ve been away for two years, so a lot of people are wondering, ‘Does he still have it?’ or ‘He’s 31 now.’ So that’s going to be a big challenge, but I’ve been working hard for the last two years to get ready, so I’m not too worried about it. The other stuff, the music, the documentary, that’s all secondary once I get back into the League.
SLAM: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
KR: Five years from now, I’d say I’m finishing out my career in basketball, I’ve been a multi-platinum selling artist, with a successful clothing line and foundation [Kareem’s Kids] to help kids here in L.A. and also in Kansas City. That’s about it, and on my way to becoming the biggest brand in the world.
SLAM: Do you have any advice for younger players as far as planning for a post-basketball career?
KR: My advice to kids is always work hard, and don’t let anybody ever tell you that you can’t do something. The sky’s the limit, just put your mind to it and you can achieve it. When I think about the things that I’m doing, you know a lot of people see me and think I can only do one thing. But I want to show them that you can be a basketball player but also have other talents.