Ex-Lakers guard Kareem Rush says he hasn’t retired from NBA just yet

Kareem Rush, right, playing for the Lakers in 2004, fights off Shane Battier.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

According to the NBA Development League transactions page, former Lakers guard Kareem Rush retired last month.

In a recent phone interview with The Times, Rush said that’s not the case.

“I’ve retired from the D-League,” he said. "[I’m] not retired from basketball completely.”

Rush, 33, last played in the NBA for the Clippers on Nov. 17, 2009, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

He has since worked to get back in the NBA, joining the Lakers’ D-League affiliate D-Fenders for the second time in his career.


Before leaving the team in January, Rush averaged 9.8 points in 12 appearances. Although he’s done playing for the D-League, Rush says he is still considering his next move as a basketball player.

“The door is still open,” he said.

Rush (20th overall pick) was originally acquired by the Lakers in 2002 from the Toronto Raptors in a draft-day deal.

He spent three full seasons with the team before the Lakers traded him to the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004 for second-round draft considerations.

“I had the most success there, made the Finals, hit those threes, all those years ago,” said Rush. “I definitely have a soft spot for the Lakers organization.”

Rush’s biggest moment with the team was in Game 6 of the 2004 Western Conference Finals. His six three-pointers helped catapult the Lakers to the NBA Finals (where they fell to the Detroit Pistons).

“I had a great career,” said Rush. “Hopefully it’s not done. You have to start thinking about your life after basketball, and that’s what I’m doing now.”

In addition to basketball, Rush continues to pursue a music career.

“I’m a singer,” he said. “I did an NBA-anthem type song. We’re going to shoot the video for that and start pushing that as my next, upcoming single.”

Rush has also partnered up to help launch a video-based website in China dedicated to basketball (

“It’s behind the scenes basketball stuff,” said Rush. “I break down the fundamentals of the game for the Chinese audience, that’s been extremely popular.”

He’s also considering a coaching role with the D-Fenders.

“They offered me [a player-development coaching position], part time,” said Rush. “I kind of want to take the next couple of weeks to think about that and see if I want to make that commitment.”

In the meantime, he’s still training regularly in case he gets the chance to play again.

“I’m definitely staying in shape,” said Rush. “I still go to the gym everyday ... just in case the call does come. I’m still open to going to China.”

If not overseas, Rush will try to get a spot in the NBA later in the year.

“I feel that I still have a lot of basketball left in me,” he said. “I plan on doing summer league. I plan on trying to get a camp invite.”


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Twitter: @EricPincus