Goodbye, Steve Nash: life after basketball

steve-nashJust as a lot of people have expected, it happened. Steve Nash will no longer play basketball, at least not professionally. Nash made a statement himself in a Player’s Tribune.

“I heard someone once say there comes a day when they tell us all that we can’t play anymore. We’re not good enough. Surplus to requirements. Too slow, maybe. When you’re a teenager with outsized dreams and a growing obsession, and someone tells you this ain’t gonna last forever, it’s scary. I never forgot it,” Nash said in his article.

Nash went on to recall how he wanted to be like his idol, the Detroit Pistons’ “bad boy” Isiah Thomas.

“So what did I do? Stayed obsessed. Set goals. Worked. Dreamed. Schemed. Pushed myself beyond what was normal or expected. I looked at my hero, Isiah Thomas, and thought to myself, “OK, I’m nowhere near the player he is but if I get better every day for 5 or 10 years, why can’t I be as good as him?,” Nash wrote.

Nash admits that obsession to becoming better became his best friend, but he does value his kids and family more than the game.

“But in some ways having this friend — this ever-present pursuit — has made me who I am, taught me and tested me, and given me a mission that feels irreplaceable. I am so thankful. I’ve learned so many invaluable lessons about myself and about life,” Nash said.

Nash also named some people in the basketball world that helped him along his path to becoming a great player.

“Don Nelson insisted that I score. I always wanted to pass but he said, “It’s goddamn selfish when you don’t shoot.” Or, “If you’re a dominant fucking player — dominate!” He insisted that I be aggressive. That growth was a turning point in my career,” Nash recalled about his former coach in Dallas.

steve-nash-dallasNash didn’t forget his former teammates either.

“I remember when Dirk and I were nobodies. He used to say over dinner sometimes, “How are us two stiffs gonna make it in this league?” Somehow we made something of ourselves,” he said. “Dirk and the great city of Dallas got their championship, and I couldn’t be happier for them.”

“Michael Finley was twice an All-Star in his prime, when Dirk and I were young guys on the Mavs. Michael never played in another All-Star Game, but our team went from last place to the Conference Finals under his watch. Do you know how rare that unselfishness is in our game? A true friend and teammate,” Nash wrote.

He then spoke about his time with the Phoenix Suns. Nash said in particular that it hurts that the fans never got the championship they deserved during that run.

“Yes, we had some bad luck but I always look back at it and think, I could’ve made one more shot, or not forced a turnover, or made a better pass,” Nash said. “But I don’t regret anything. The arena was always sold out and rocking. It was the time of my life. Thanks, Phoenix.”

Nash also said that when he signed with the LA Lakers, he had big dreams of lifting the fans up and the city itself on fire.

“I turned down more lucrative offers to come to L.A. because I wanted to be in the “fire,” and play for high risk and high reward in my last NBA chapter,” Nash said. “In my second game here, I broke my leg and nothing was the same.”

steve-nash-phoenixNash said there’s been a lot of negativity online, but in his nearly three years in LA, he said he has never met anyone who didn’t show him anything but love and support for his efforts.

“Fans around the world have shown me so much appreciation throughout the years, it’s unbelievable. Going out to shoot hour after hour, day after day as a kid, I never sought or dreamed of the amount of support and love people have shown. It’s been a huge source of motivation and inspiration. Thank you eternally,” Nash said.

“I will likely never play basketball again. It’s bittersweet. I already miss the game deeply, but I’m also really excited to learn to do something else,” he wrote.

Steve Nash was a 2-time NBA MVP and participated in 8 All-Star games. He led the NBA in assists in six seasons, and in assists per game in 5 seasons.

Nash played a total of 1217 NBA games (started in 1053) during 18 seasons, for Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and LA Lakers. He holds career averages of 14.3 ppg, 8.5 apg, and 31.3 mpg. Nash shot over 90 percent from freethrow line and 49 percent from the field during regular seasons.

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