Retired veteran NBA player Jamal Crawford has had a storied career as a professional basketball player during the 21st century, and one part of his entire experience that he remembers fondly is his relationship with Jay-Z. In his recent appearance on Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s SHOWTIME podcast All The Smoke, Crawford touched on topics ranging from his eventful 20-season career in the NBA to his relationships with Hall-of-Famers like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
Around the 50:40 mark of the interview, Crawford also discusses his connection with Jay-Z in detail. According to Crawford, their relationship started to develop during his last year as a player for the Chicago Bulls.
Years after connecting with each other, the two went out to eat after a game, and Hov proceeded to put Jamal Crawford on to a then up-and-coming emcee known as Rick Ross. Apparently, Jay-Z, like everyone else in 2006, couldn’t get enough of Rick Ross’ debut single “Huslin’.”
“JAY-Z, I remember we went to eat after a game, and he was playing Rick Ross … ‘Everyday I’m Hustlin,'” Crawford tells the All The Smoke crew. “And Jay was mesmerized by the song. He was like, ‘Whip it, whip it real hard!’ He kept saying that part, he loved it. And that was my introduction to Rick Ross, through JAY-Z. Ross has never heard that story.”
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Jay-Z actually went on to land a guest feature on Rick Ross’ official “Hustlin'” remix, so Jamal Crawford’s story adds another layer of backstory behind one of Jay-Z and Rick Ross’ first collaborations.
Revisit the original version of Rozay’s 2006 hit single below.