Kareem Rush Scores On and Off the Court
COLUMBIA - Kareem Rush once made six straight threes in the NBA Western Conference Finals to push the Lakers into the NBA Finals.
Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O'Neal all congratulated him, but it wasn't even the best part of the basketball career.
The banners hang in the Mizzou practice gym mark NCAA Tournament appearances in 2000, 01, 02, and Kareem Rush played a starring role in all of them.
"The funnest part of my life playing basketball. I remember Quin and T-Harvey and I'm still pretty close with Josh. I still keep in touch with him. I have nothing but great memories from down here," recalled Rush.
None better than an NCAA Tournament game when Rush rammed in 29 points against Duke with a cast on his hand.
"The game that put me on the map as far as nationally," said Rush.
Current Mizzou guard Michael Dixon didn't need a map to find Kareem.
"Kind of a local legend, him and his brothers. When I was in 5th grade, our P.E. coach put on the Duke and Missouri game instead of us having class," remembered Dixon.
Rush stopped class after his junior season and took his game to the pros. The Lakers drafted him in the first round, and he won a World Championship in 2004, but they traded him the next season.
Rush explained, "Had some up and downs there. Went overseas, for a year, just been basketball roller coaster."
Basketball took him as far as Lithuania, but he still spends time in Columbia.
"I'm rehabbing my knee off of microfracture ACL surgery in December. I'm probably about 2 months out from being able to play again," said Rush.
But basketball isn't his only skill.
"I've always been a singer. Anybody that knows me knows that music has been a big part of my life. Most of my friends are like, it's about time that you've done something with your voice," said Rush.
A singing career shouldn't be anything new; he already played in L.A.
Rush explained, "That's like a circus show every night of the week. That's like being a rock star."
Instead of rock, Rush is scoring with R & B.
"Most guys have been into the rap world so I'm one of the first guys to try singing," said Rush.
His first single is called "Hold You Down".
Fitting...because seemingly nothing can hold him down.
"The knee's a little bad. I got a bad wheel, but the shooting form is always there. It's like riding a bicycle, I could shoot in my sleep," said Rush.
Just like he did back in the day against Duke.
"I just knew Kareem Rush was pretty good, and I wanted Missouri to win because I was from Missouri," recalled Dixon.
"I never thought that when I started playing basketball at age 9 that I'd go on a world tour. Now I'm 30 and I look back and say it's been a great ride," said Rush.
Rush is still close friends with his college roommate, Josh Kroenke, who is now the owner of the Denver Nuggets.
As for his former coach Quin Snyder, he says they reconnected this year.