TORONTO — Steve Nash has announced his retirement and the rap world is likely joining basketball fans in mourning.
After all, the 41-year-old was a source of fascination to many rappers over the years, artists who associated the Victoria, B.C. point guard with his play-making philanthropy or who simply realized that many words rhyme with “Nash.”
Either way, The Canadian Press had to shuffle aside rhymes by Shad and Cam’ron to put together this list of five songs that name-checked Nash.
1. Beanie Sigel, “Don’t Stop” (March 2005)
Both Sigel and Nash found themselves in peak form around the time the troubled Philadelphia rapper boasted: “Keep three shooters like the Mavericks/ Short to the point like Nash is.” Beans’s third record gave him the best reviews and highest chart position of his career (though he was in prison at the time), while Nash (formerly a Dallas Maverick) was in the midst of his first season back with Phoenix and would soon win his first MVP award. And it should be pointed out that Nash stands a perfectly respectable six-foot-three.
2. Twista, “Holding Down the Game” (October 2005)
The turbo-spitting Chicago freight train emphasized Nash’s gift for nimbly carving through defences rapping: “When I breeze past/ I’m ’bout to run through the game like I was Steve Nash.” At the time, Twista and Nash were mutually trying to avoid disappointment after hoisting expectations skyward. Twista’s previous album, 2004’s “Kamikaze,” had topped the chart and gone platinum, whereas the carelessly titled “The Day After” settled for gold and the No. 2 spot. Nash, however, actually managed to outdo himself in the 2005-06 season that was just kicking off, setting career highs in points and rebounds per game en route to his second straight MVP award.
3. Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland, “Promiscuous” (April 2006)
OK, so Nash’s fellow Victoria product wasn’t really a rapper, but she was playing one here — just like she was playing Timbaland’s impatient lothario. The earworm hook “Is your game MVP like Steve Nash?” prompted enough tittering that Nash had to publicly deny a romantic link. The sensual banger gave Furtado her first of two U.S. No. 1s, and her subsequent album “Loose” topped the chart after coming out June 7 — coincidentally, just four days after Nash’s Suns lost Game 6 in the Western Conference final to Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks. It was the closest Nash would ever get to the NBA Finals.
4. Lil’ Wayne on Glasses Malone’s “Haterz” (August 2008)
Although the L.A. rapper Glasses Malone was given primary credit for this track, it was Weezy’s world back in the summer of ’08. His blockbuster “Tha Carter III” had topped the U.S. chart and gone triple platinum in the months preceding the quiet release of this collaboration, and this nugget is buried amid a gilded verse: “Light up the purp, pass it like Steve Nash.” It’s a drug reference, and Nash would go on to have a season to forget; he missed the playoffs after playing in eight straight post-seasons.
5. OB O’Brien feat. Drake, “Steve Nash” (January 2014)
Drake’s Hamilton-reared right-hand man stepped to the fore with the most overt ode yet to the eight-time all-star, shouting Nash out by (full) name on four separate occasions. Months after the song wafted to Soundcloud, Nash played what turned out to be the final NBA game of his career, ending a sour final chapter with the L.A. Lakers. Drake memorialized Nash’s Tinseltown stint anyway, drawling on the outro: “Papi’s Kobe, OB hit me with the lead pass/ Shout out to homie Steve Nash.”
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