23 September 2020

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The Story of Steve Nash

Steve Nash is undoubtedly one of the games greatest point guards of all time. Many know of his name and success, but little know of the difficulties Nash faced.

Steve Nash was born on February 7, 1974 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He grew up in a place where basketball was not popular, which showed in his early interests. Nash was an avid fan of soccer, and still is to this day. He credits this for his footwork and coordination. He started playing basketball at age 12 and struggled to attract the attention of college scouts, getting only one Division-1 offer from Santa Clara. This is where he made a name for himself, and found his first taste of success.

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While at Santa Clara, Nash put himself on the map. During his four seasons at Santa Clara University, he averaged 15/3/4 splits on efficient shooting, at 43/40/86 percentages. Nash had a lot of success in his first year at Santa Clara, as despite not having huge numbers he lead them to the NCAA Tournament, where Santa Clara beat No. 2 seed Arizona in the first round. The two time WCC player of the year declared for the NBA draft in 1996. He was taken with the 15th pick by the Phoenix Suns, where he, once again, had to face turmoil and defy everyone’s expectations.

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Nash struggled to get playing time on his first go-around in Phoenix. Stuck behind Kevin Johnson, Jason Kidd, and Sam Cassell, Nash only played in limited minutes off the bench. After two seasons, Dallas traded for the young point guard, hoping he could become an essential piece alongside Dirk Nowitzski. After an underwhelming first two seasons, Nash improved tremendously during the 2000-2001 season, with averages of 15.6/3.2/7.3 splits on over 40% from downtown. In the 2001 playoffs, the 5th seed Mavericks faced the Utah Jazz in the first round, and won the series 3-2 (back then, first round was best of five) . The Mavericks lost in 5 games to the San Antonio Spurs, but the season was still a success. In the 2001-2002 season, Steve Nash was selected to his first All-Star game, and the Mavericks finished 4th in the West, eventually losing to the Sacramento Kings in the Western Conference Semifinals.

In the 2004 offseason, Dallas did not think it would be wise to invest in the 30 year old point guard, as his age was a concerning factor, a decision Dirk Nowitzki said wished he would’ve fought more. Steve Nash headed back to Phoenix, where he would instantly prove the Mavericks wrong. In Mike D’Antoni’s revolutionary 7 seconds or less offense, Nash was named MVP in his first season back in Arizona, and lead the Suns past the Mavericks in the Western Semifinals in 6 games. With averages of 24 points along with 11 assists per contest in the playoffs, Nash got his revenge on the Mavericks and showed them the mistake they made by letting him walk in free agency. Despite losing to the eventual champion Spurs, Nash did not let this demotivate him.

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He followed this season up with another MVP season in 2006, despite losing Joe Johnson and Josh Richardson in the offseason. The Suns owner, Robert Sarver, was cheap and made huge mistakes trading away All-Star Joe Johnson, who was a key component to the Suns previous success. The Suns were able to make it to the WCF for the second season in a row, they were unable to beat the Mavericks as they fell in 6, despite a 20 & 10 series from Steve Nash. For the remaining years of his time in Phoenix, it was clear that despite being a very good team, they were never quite good enough to beat the other teams at the top of the West. Trading Shawn Marion for an old and immobile Shaquille O’Neal certainly did them no favors, as he was flipped not long thereafter.

Steve Nash ended his career injury prone on the Lakers. In 2012, the Lakers brought in Nash to fill the void at Point Guard after signing Dwight Howard and looking to form a super team. Unfortunately, Nash’s worsening defense, age, and injuries cost him a chance to play at full strength. After Kobe Bryant ruptured his Achilles, it was the end of an era for the Lakers. After another season in limited minutes, and missing the entire 2015 season, he decided to call it a career.

Steve Nash went through many obstacles throughout his whole career. The 8 time All-Star never won a ring, but it certainly was not because of his talent. Nash does not get the recognition he deserves, as being a consistent 15 points and 10 assists in a stacked Western Conference is no easy task. The Story of Steve Nash shows that with consistency and determination to be the best, any setback will just lead to a bigger comeback.

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