Steve Nash suffered a back injury that will keep him out for this season and most likely will end his career. I want to take a moment to look back on his career as well as what it meant to Canada.
Steve Nash was a dynamic point guard that dominated the game unlike anyone else in history. His combination of quickness, passing ability and basketball IQ made for a player that will go down as one of the best at that position of all time. In fact I have him only behind Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas in the PG category. Steve Nash was simply the top pure point guard of his era and his numbers back it up. He will finish 3rd on the all time list for assists but this isn’t the stat that most impresses me. What stands out to me was his teams offensive production with him at the helm. Steve Nash was the leader of the best offensive team in the NBA for nine seasons in a row. Yes, NINE in a ROW. This wasn’t a coincidence or by chance. Nash was able to navigate offenses like maybe no one in history ever has. From the 2001-02 season with Dallas until 2009-10 with Phoenix, Nash’s teams dominated the NBA offensively. Throw all that together with his two MVP’s, eight All-Star teams, seven All-NBA teams (Three first teams) as well as his five times leading the league in assists, you have a player who should be a no brainer to be a first ballot hall of famer.
But his remarkable NBA career isn’t the only place that he made his mark, Steve Nash is Mr. Basketball in Canada. Canadian basketball took a huge step forward because of what Nash did. At the time Nash broke into the league Canadian basketball was still very raw. The Raptors and Grizzlies were still in their infancy and success on the world stage didn’t seem like a possibility. What Steve Nash showed kids in Canada was that the NBA was a possibility, that you can do more than watch it on TV, you could be on TV. Nash wasn’t a 7’5″ monster or 6’8″ athletic freak. Nash inspired a nation to pick up a ball and start shooting. It isn’t a coincidence that this recent surge in Canadian talent comes from the generation that grew up watching those great Suns teams. It is fitting that he is now the leader of that generation as the head of Canada Basketball. I have no doubt that this next phase will be just as, or more successful that his playing career was.