Evanston native Alex Rubin wrote a rap inspired by the Utah Jazz’s involvement with the “5 for the Fight” foundation which has since been featured during each game of the 2021-2022 season. The rap, titled “Shine a Light,” highlights the fight against cancer and includes the lyrics, “We take our fives out, Right before we call out.”
The team wears patches for the foundation on their jersey’s and has a tradition where they turn off the lights during a third quarter time out. All the fans then shine a light on their phones.
“It’s a ritual during every game to shine a light for the fight against cancer,” Rubin explained. People are then urged to text a certain number and make a $5 donation to the foundation.
“I was hoping that they would like the song so much that they’d play that during that ritual,” Rubin said. Instead, the executive director decided to play it at each game during a public service announcement about the foundation.
Maybe 10 seconds of the vocal is played at the end of the PSA. You can hear the beat going the whole time and then at the end you hear my voice say, ‘We take our fives out, Right before we ball out, Five for the fight, Shine a light, Which you all bout.’ ”
Rubin, who now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, said he began rapping when he attended Evanston Township High School.
The 2001 graduate said it started with “kids making fun of each other’s mothers and making it rhyme. Then maybe 10 years later I was bored and I was listening to a beat and I decided I’m going to make a song.”
He was inspired by the 2012 shutdown of the NBA because of a collective bargaining agreement impasse.
“There was a lockout, so I made a song right in the beginning of what would have been the season,” Rubin recalled. He made a slideshow video of that song that was picked up by a sports website.
“I realized people like my stuff and I started writing a little bit more, and then 2020 it really picked up because of the quarantine. I was new in town and didn’t know many people,” he explained.
Since 2020, Rubin estimated that he has recorded about 180 new songs.
Rubin works on his songs during the evening. His day job his is as a senior account executive at Qualtrics, based in Provo, Utah, a technology company that creates surveys for market research for companies. The company was founded by Ryan Smith, who bought the Utah Jazz in 2020.
“His philanthropy is ‘5 for the Fight,’” Rubin related. “When the NBA started compelling teams to have sponsorships that could go on a patch on the jersey, every team has a company that they represented, except Ryan Smith chose to put ‘5 FOR THE FIGHT.’”
Rubin explained that Smith started that foundation because his father was battling cancer when Smith founded the company. He has since won that fight.
Rubin said that even though he works for Qualtrics, he didn’t have a direct connection to Smith so he sent “Shine a Light” to the executive director of the philanthropy. They were so impressed by the rap that it has since become a part of the third quarter tradition.
Rubin said that having his song performed at every game is a “tremendous honor. It’s a nice stamp of approval. I’m passionate about basketball ever since I grew up in Evanston rooting for Michael Jordan. And I hope it makes my parents proud.”
Myrna Petlicki is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.