It’s been a triumphant week in America! Viva la Biden-Harris! So it felt like a great time to talk about Canada. 😉 This week on Totally Sounds Like, Steven pairs two recent Hall of Famers, two of Canada’s finest exports: Steve Nash and Rush.
Despite a successful (so far) transition of power earlier this week at the White House, with lots to feel hopeful for here in the States, we’re going all-in on Canada here in today’s edition. Steve Nash (one of the NBA’s best point guards to ever play) and Rush (one of the most legendary rock bands to ever play) both became Hall of Famers in their respective fields in the 2010s. Though Nash was still playing when Rush was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, he retired two years later. In 2017 the NBA reduced their restriction on post-career eligibility for the HOF, altering the necessary years retired from four to three. This allowed Nash to be enshrined in 2018, his first opportunity to be inducted.
Rush originally formed way back in 1968 in Toronto. There were some early tweaks with the addition of Geddy Lee on bass, keyboards, and vocals (replacing Jeff Jones) and a switch at drummer from John Rutsey (who battled juvenile diabetes and struggled with the stresses of touring) to the one and only Neil Peart. Since 1974, the core group of Lee, Peart, and Alex Lifeson (guitar) blew minds and dazzled stages for decades to come. This power trio and their incredible, musical minds propelled Rush into one of the most iconic bands of all-time and each member was essential to the band’s success navigating through each unique period of their long, adaptive journey.
Drawing inspiration from fellow rock greats like Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Yes, and Genesis, Rush began with a more epic, progressive, powerful sound. Their breakthrough album, 2112, was released in 1976 and featured a 20-minute title track divided into seven sections. After going platinum, Rush secured a tour through the U.S. and their home country. The three sold-out shows in Toronto at Massey Hall became their first live album All the World’s a Stage and was released 3 months later in September 1976.
They ultimately sustained their success with shorter, equally electric tracks such as “Tom Sawyer” and “The Spirit of Radio.” Fittingly, both receive massive airplay to this day and the band has a legion of fans that sustain their cult-level status. Possibly the first big three, each member has won numerous individual awards in readers’ polls and beyond for being among the best to ever do it at their instrument. Drumming icon Neil Peart—in a lot of ways the Nash of the band, driving the offense song—passed away a year ago this month after a three year battle with brain cancer at the age of 67. Lead-man Geddy Lee recently confirmed that Rush is truly no more—and could never be—without their core brother, one of rock’s greatest drummers to ever live.
Steve Nash was born in Johannesburg, South Africa before his family moved just 18 months later to Victoria, British Columbia. With his dad playing professional soccer for years, Nash grew up playing rugby, soccer, and ice hockey—even being babysat by his neighbors and future NHL stars Russ and Geoff Courtnall. Nash didn’t pick up a basketball until he was about 12-years-old, but by eighth grade, he told his mom that one day he was going to be an NBA star.
His high school coach, Ian Hyde-Lay, sent tape on his behalf to over 30 schools, and not a single university recruited young Steve. Averaging 21.3 points, 11.2 assists, and 9.1 rebounds per game during his senior season, Nash finally drew interest from Santa Clara head coach Dick Davey. Upon watching Nash play with his own eyes, Davey said he “was nervous as hell just hoping that no one else would see him. It didn’t take a Nobel Prize winner to figure out this guy’s pretty good. It was just a case of hoping that none of the big names came around.” Davey also told Nash that he was “the worst defensive player” he had ever seen, but that didn’t stop Nash from receiving a scholarship for the 1992-93 season. By the end of his junior year, Nash led the Broncos to a WCC championship and was named Conference Player of the Year after leading in points and assists. A one-and-done trip to the NCAA tournament had Nash considering leaving for the NBA, but he ultimately came back for his senior year after he was projected as a shaky second-rounder.
By the time Phoenix Suns fans had booed their 15th pick in the 1996 draft, Nash had finished his college career as the Broncos all-time leader in assists, free throw percentage, as well as made and attempted three-pointers. His No. 11 jersey was the first ever to be retired by Santa Clara University. After two under-utilized seasons in Phoenix, Nash was dished to the Mavs and began to flourish under new club owner Mark Cuban and alongside a rising German big man named Dirk Nowitzki.
When free agency arrived for Nash in 2004, the Mavs spent big money on retaining high-valued pieces in Antoine Walker, Antwan Jamison, Michael Finely, and Dirk. With Phoenix offering a longer, larger deal, the Mavs parted ways with Nash and his return-chapter with the Suns began. Partnered with like-minded head coach Mike D’Antoni, the Suns created an up-tempo, high-scoring offense that led the league in points for five straight seasons from 2005-2010. Nash was awarded league MVP twice, narrowly losing a third straight MVP award in the 2006-07 season to former teammate Dirk Nowitzki. The Suns never reached the finals and Steve Nash moved on to the Los Angeles Lakers, once again with head coach Mike D’Antoni. After three injury-plagued seasons in LA, Nash called it quits, finishing his career as one of the best, most-electrifying point guards in NBA history.
Rush & Steve Nash go together like Duct Tape & Third Place. A list of more legendary Canadian figures does not exist. Steve Nash redefined what it meant to be an “up-tempo” point guard, paving the way for guys like Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and now Trae Young to flourish in the run’n’gun pace of today’s NBA. Meanwhile, Rush became a true pioneer in virtuosic, keyboard-infused rock music that spent over 40 years unapologetically mastering their craft and inspiring fans all over the world. Watching Nash race up and down the court finishing contorted contact-layups, draining deep off-screen threes, dishing out countless crafty assists, and setting up a plethora of easy jams for his teammates melds perfectly with the sonic waves of wizardly wondrous compositions, electrifying keyboard solos, vibrant vocalities, and perfectly pounded percussions that Rush became known for. Truly a match made in Heaven Canada.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s edition and all of its Canadian glory – tune in next week for a completely new TOTALLY SOUNDS LIKE right here on MM&H!
See ya next time for the final Friday of January. Have a beautiful weekend and, as always, stay Strong, friends!