Stephen John Nash, OC, OBC (born February 7, 1974), is a Canadian former professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was an eight-time NBA All-Star and a seven-time All-NBA selection. Twice, Nash was named the NBA Most Valuable Player while playing for the Phoenix Suns. He currently serves as general manager of the Canadian national team and as a player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors.
After a successful high school basketball career in British Columbia, Nash earned a scholarship to Santa Clara University in California. In his four seasons with the Broncos, the team made three NCAA Tournament appearances, and he was twice named the West Coast Conference (WCC) Player of the Year. Nash graduated from Santa Clara as the team’s all-time leader in assists and was taken as the 15th pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns. He made minimal impact and was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 1998. By his fourth season with the Mavericks, he was voted to his first NBA All-Star Game and had earned his first All-NBA selection. Together with Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley, Nash led the Mavericks to the Western Conference Finals the following season. He became a free agent after the 2003-04 season and returned to the Phoenix Suns.
In the 2004-05 season, Nash led the Suns to the Western Conference Finals and was named the league’s MVP. He was named MVP again in the 2005-06 season and was runner-up for a third consecutive MVP to Nowitzki in 2006-07. Named by ESPN in 2006 as the ninth-greatest point guard of all time, Nash led the league in assists and free-throw percentage at various points in his career. He is also ranked as one of the top players in NBA league history in three-point shooting, free-throw shooting, total assists, and assists per game.
Nash has been honoured for his contributions to various philanthropic causes. In 2006, he was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2007 and invested to the order in 2016, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Victoria in 2008.
Nash has been a co-owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer (MLS) since the team entered the league in 2011. In 2012, he was named general manager of the Canadian men’s national basketball team, for whom he played from 1991 to 2003.
Nash was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to a Welsh mother, Jean, and English father, John, on February 7, 1974. His family moved to Regina, Saskatchewan when he was 18 months old, before settling in Victoria, British Columbia. He therefore holds British as well as Canadian citizenship. Before the family settled in Canada, his father played professional soccer in various parts of the world. Nash often played soccer and ice hockey with his younger brother Martin, and did not start playing basketball until he was 12 or 13 years old. In grade eight, however, he told his mother that one day he would play in the NBA and would become a star. He was neighbour to future NHL stars Russ and Geoff Courtnall, who used to babysit him and played soccer coached by Nash’s father.
High school career
Nash originally attended Mount Douglas Secondary School in Saanich, British Columbia, but after his grades began to drop, his parents decided to enroll him at St. Michaels University School, a private boarding school in Victoria. There, he starred in basketball, soccer, and rugby union. While playing basketball during his senior season, Nash averaged 21.3 points, 11.2 assists, and 9.1 rebounds per game. In the 1991-92 season, he led his team in his final year to the British Columbia AAA provincial championship title, and was named the province’s Player of the Year.
Although Nash’s high school coach, Ian Hyde-Lay, sent letters of inquiry and highlight reels on Nash’s behalf to over 30 American universities, Nash was not recruited by any university, until Santa Clara coach Dick Davey requested video footage of the young guard. After watching Nash in person, Davey said he “was nervous as hell just hoping that no one else would see him. It didn’t take a Nobel Prize winner to figure out this guy’s pretty good. It was just a case of hoping that none of the big names came around.” However, Davey also told Nash that he was “the worst defensive player” he had ever seen.
Nash was awarded a scholarship by Santa Clara for the 1992-93 season. At that time, it had been five years since the Broncos appeared in the NCAA tournament. That changed when Nash led the Broncos to a WCC Tournament title and an upset win over the No. 2 seeded Arizona in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament. In that game, Nash scored six straight free throws in the last 30 seconds of the contest. Although Santa Clara was defeated by Temple in the next round, the 1992-93 campaign was considered a successful one. However, the Broncos failed to sustain the momentum the following season, and only managed a 5-7 record in the conference. The team rebounded in the 1994-95 season, with Nash being named Conference Player of the Year and the Broncos topping the WCC. Featuring the league leader for scoring and assists in Nash, the Broncos returned to the NCAA tournament, but they were defeated by Mississippi State. After the season, Nash contemplated turning professional, and decided against it when he learned that he would probably not be considered as a first-round pick in the 1995 NBA draft.
In the 1995-96 season, Nash began attracting the attention of the national media and professional scouts. He had spent the summer before that honing his skills, playing with the Canadian national team and working out with the likes of established NBA players Jason Kidd and Gary Payton. Santa Clara again captured the WCC title, and for the second consecutive year, Nash was named Conference Player of the Year, the first Bronco to do so since Kurt Rambis. He scored 28 points in leading the No. 10 seed Broncos to a first round upset win over No. 7 seed Maryland, but then the Broncos were eliminated by Kansas. Nash’s performances ensured that he earned an honourable mention All-America as a senior by The Associated Press and the USBWA. He also finished his career as Santa Clara’s all-time leader in career assists (510), free-throw percentage (.862), and made and attempted three-pointers (263-656). He remains third on the school’s all-time scoring list (1,689), and holds Santa Clara’s single-season free-throw percentage record (.894). In September 2006, Nash had his jersey (#11) retired, becoming the first Santa Clara student-athlete to receive that honour.
Phoenix Suns (1996-1998)
After graduating with a degree in sociology, Nash was selected 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 1996 NBA draft. Upon hearing the draft announcement, Suns fans booed in disapproval of the relatively unknown player. This was because despite his impressive college accomplishments, Nash had not played in one of the major college conferences. A major influence in Phoenix’s choice was assistant coach Donnie Nelson, who met Nash back in high school as he was coached by Nelson’s friend Ken Shields, and would eventually befriend the player as he played in Santa Clara. During his first two seasons in the NBA, Nash played a supporting role behind NBA star point guards Kevin Johnson, Sam Cassell, and later, Jason Kidd. Both Johnson and Cassell had NBA Finals experience, while Kidd was the second overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft and already an All-Star when he arrived at Phoenix.
In his rookie season, Nash only managed 10.5 minutes a game, but in his second season, his playing time increased significantly and he was even ranked 13th in the league for three-point field-goal percentage. Nevertheless, the Canadian’s tenure with the Suns did not last. Nelson had just taken a job as assistant general manager of the Dallas Mavericks under his father, Don Nelson, and convinced him to acquire the under-utilised Nash. Following the 1998 NBA draft, Nash was traded from the Suns to the Mavericks in exchange for Martin Mrsepp, Bubba Wells, the draft rights to Pat Garrity and a first-round draft pick (who later turned out to be future Phoenix teammate Shawn Marion).
Dallas Mavericks (1998-2004)
It was in Dallas that Nash established himself as a formidable point guard, beginning a decade as one of the game’s top players. During his first year as a Maverick (the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season) he started in all 40 games he played in, and averaged 7.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. The 19-31 Mavericks failed to make the playoffs but in the 1999-2000 season, the team’s prospects improved considerably. Nash missed 25 mid-season games due to an ankle injury, but came back to record six double-doubles in the last month of play. He finished the season with averages of 8.6 points and 4.9 assists per game. More importantly for the team, second-year teammate and friend Dirk Nowitzki was blossoming quickly into a top player, veteran Michael Finley was having an All-Star-calibre year, and the team’s new owner, billionaire Mark Cuban, was bringing new energy and excitement to the franchise. Nash now had a supportive environment in which he could thrive.
In the 2000-01 season, Nash averaged 15.6 points and 7.3 assists per game in a breakout season. With Nash directing the team’s offense, Nowitzki and Finley playing at their best, and the acquisition of All-Star Juwan Howard complementing the high-scoring trio, the Mavericks earned a playoff berth for the first time in more than a decade. Dallas lost in the Western Conference Semifinals four games to one to the San Antonio Spurs, but it marked the beginning of a memorable run for Nash and the Mavericks. In the 2001-02 season, Nash posted career-highs of 17.9 points and 7.7 assists per game and earned a spot in the NBA All-Star Game and on the All-NBA Third Team. He was now an All-Star, increasingly appearing in television commercials and, with Finley and Nowitzki, a part of the Dallas Mavericks “Big Three.” Dallas earned another trip to the playoffs but lost again in the Semifinals to the Sacramento Kings four games to one.
Nash closely replicated his previous season’s performance in the 2002-03 season, averaging 17.7 points and 7.3 assists per game, again earning All-Star and All-NBA Third Team honours. Nowitzki and Nash led the Mavericks from a 14-game winning streak to open the season all the way to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the eventual NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs four games to two. It was only the second Conference Finals appearance in the franchise’s history. The 2003-04 season saw an offensively boosted Mavericks roster (with the acquisitions of Antoine Walker and Antawn Jamison) but a dip in Nash’s scoring contributions. As a result, he was not selected for the All-Star and All-NBA team rosters even though he achieved new career highs in assists per game (8.8) and free-throw accuracy (91.6%). In the playoffs, the fifth-seeded Dallas failed to make progress yet again as the Sacramento Kings saw them off four games to one.
After the 2003-04 season, Nash became a free agent. He attempted to negotiate a long-term contract with Cuban, who was paying Walker, Finley, Nowitzki and Jamison nearly $50 million in combined salaries that season. Cuban wanted to build his franchise around the younger Nowitzki and did not want to risk signing the 30-year-old Nash to a long-term deal, and offered Nash a four-year deal worth about $9 million annually, with a fifth year partially guaranteed. The Phoenix Suns on the other hand offered the point guard a six-year, $63 million contract. Nash was reluctant to leave Dallas and returned to Cuban to see if he would match the deal; Cuban did not, and Nash signed with the Suns for the 2004-05 season. The Canadian would go on to win two League MVP awards with Phoenix, and on a 14 June 2006 appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, Cuban wondered out loud, “… you know Steve’s a great guy and I love him to death, but why couldn’t he play like an MVP for us?”
Return to Phoenix (2004-2012)
Nash joined a Suns team which had emerging young players in Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson and Amar’e Stoudemire. In the season before Nash arrived, the Suns had recorded a 29-53 win-loss record, and they were projected to have another poor season. Head coach Mike D’Antoni favoured an up-tempo style of basketball; this required smaller and more athletic players with the capability to outrun and outshoot their opponents. Nash’s familiarity with this style combined with the athleticism of his teammates produced an NBA-best 62-20 record and a points-per-game average of 110.4, the highest in a decade. The catalyst of this turnaround, Nash averaged 11.5 assists per game while making 50.2% of his field goals and 43.1% of his three-pointers in the regular season. He edged Shaquille O’Neal to win the 2004-05 NBA MVP award, becoming the first Canadian to earn the honour, as well as the third point guard ever to be named MVP, along with Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy. In the playoffs, Phoenix swept the Memphis Grizzlies in four games before meeting the Dallas Mavericks in the second round. Nash led the Suns to a 4-2 series win, and the Suns reached the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1993, but lost to the eventual NBA Champions and arch-rival, the San Antonio Spurs, in five games.
The next season, Stoudemire suffered a serious knee injury, and Johnson and Quentin Richardson were traded away. The Suns were not expected to repeat their successful 2005 season, but with Nash directing the same high-tempo offence, the team compiled a respectable 54-28 record and won the division title. The Suns were again the highest-scoring team in the league with seven players averaging double figures in points per game, and Nash was voted for the first time to start for the 2006 Western All-Star team. Having recorded career highs in points (18.8), rebounds (4.2), field goal percentage (.512) and free-throw percentage (a league-leading .921), and leading the league with 10.5 assists per game, Nash was named the league MVP for the second year in a row. In the first round of the playoffs, Phoenix overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Los Angeles Lakers and won the series 4-3. The Los Angeles Clippers were their Conference Semifinals opponents, and the Suns again needed seven games to clinch the series. For the second year in a row, however, the Suns bowed out in the Conference Finals, this time to Nash’s former team, Dallas.
In the 2006-07 season, Nash had another stellar campaign, averaging 18.6 points and a career-high 11.6 assists per game while becoming the first person since Magic Johnson in 1990-91 to average 18 points and 11 assists per game during the regular season. Nash received the most votes for first-team All-NBA and was joined by teammate Stoudemire; the two were the first teammates to make the first team since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in 2003-04. Nash received 129 first-place votes and 645 total points from the panel of 129 media members. He narrowly missed being MVP a third consecutive time, coming in second with 44 first place votes to 83 for Dirk Nowitzki. In the playoffs, the Suns eliminated the Lakers in five games before losing 4-2 to the Spurs in the Conference Semifinals.
Nash played in 81 regular-season games during the 2007-08 season; in this campaign, the Western Conference was especially competitive and he led the Suns to 55 wins and the sixth seed for the 2008 NBA Playoffs. Although there was a dip in his regular-season output, Nash’s shooting remained sharp; the accuracy of his shooting was on par with his 2005-06 MVP campaign (shooting at least 50% from the field, 40% from the three-point arc, and 90% from the free throw line). On 31 January 2008, he collected his All-Star stripes for the sixth time in his career. However, Nash continued to experience agony in the playoffs. Despite a mid-season trade that sent Shawn Marion to the Miami Heat and brought four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal to the team, the Suns were defeated in the first round of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs for the third time in four years. In the deciding Game 5, Nash was perceived to have suffered from “elimination-game jitters”, and turned over the ball twice in the final two minutes of what was a tight contest. Nevertheless, Nash was later named to the All-NBA Second Team for the 2007-08 season.
Before the 2008-09 season began, coach D’Antoni was replaced by Terry Porter, who preferred a more defensive-oriented style of basketball. The Suns had difficulties adapting to this new system, and even a December trade involving sending stalwarts Raja Bell and Boris Diaw to the Charlotte Bobcats for athletic swingman Jason Richardson saw the team continue to struggle. Porter was then replaced by Alvin Gentry in February after a 28-23 record, but the Suns were unable to secure the final seed for the playoffs, resulting in Nash missing the playoffs for the first time since he returned to Phoenix for his second stint.
Nash and the Suns opened the 2009-10 season with a series of strong performances, going 8-1 in their first nine games (a franchise-best since 1980-81), with Nash producing two 20-assists games. On 21 January 2010, Nash was named as the starting point guard for the West for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. With him operating at the point, the Suns were the highest-scoring team in the league for the fifth season in a row, and were seeded third in the conference for the playoffs with 54 wins. Behind solid performances by Richardson and veteran Grant Hill, the Suns defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs, and swept the Spurs 4-0 in the second round. The Suns met the defending champions, Los Angeles Lakers, in the Conference Finals. After losing the first two games, Phoenix won the next two to tie the series. A Ron Artest buzzer-beater in Game 5 pushed the Lakers one game closer to the Finals, and Kobe Bryant‘s 37 points in Game 6 completed the defeat of the Suns.
The Suns underwent two major roster changes in the 2010-11 season. During the pre-season, Stoudemire left for New York, while longtime teammate Leandro Barbosa was traded for Hedo Trkolu. Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick were also recruited to join the Suns. Not long after the season began, Trkolu, Richardson, and Earl Clark were traded to Orlando for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, and Mickal Pitrus, while rising star Goran Dragic was traded to the Houston Rockets for Aaron Brooks. The Suns had difficulty being even a .500 team, and for the second time since Nash returned to Phoenix, the Suns failed to make the playoffs.
In February 2012, Nash was named to his eighth All-Star Game. At the time, he was leading the NBA in assists per game. On 21 April 2012, Nash passed Oscar Robertson for career assists versus the Denver Nuggets. Despite his stellar play the Suns missed the playoffs for the second consecutive time. He finished the season averaging 12.5 points and 10.7 assists per game on 53.2% shooting from the field (tying his career high). Near the end of the 2011-12 season, Nash was named the winner of the PBWA‘s Magic Johnson Award.
Los Angeles Lakers (2012-2015)
On July 11, 2012, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Nash in a sign-and-trade deal with Phoenix. Nash also considered signing with New York or Toronto, but he decided that Los Angeles was the best fit for him and his family. Nash switched his jersey number, as his customary No. 13 was retired by Los Angeles in honour of Wilt Chamberlain. Nash, an avid soccer fan, chose No. 10 to pay homage to Glenn Hoddle, Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi and other soccer playmakers who wore the number. Entering his 17th NBA season, Nash came to the Lakers with concerns over his defense and the health of his back.
In the second game of the 2012-13 season, Nash suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left leg after a collision with Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. He was expected to miss at least one week, but was out of the lineup for close to seven weeks. He was reunited with D’Antoni, who took over as Lakers coach after Mike Brown was fired after a 1-4 start. On 22 December, Nash returned against the Golden State Warriors, helping the Lakers win their first overtime game of the season, 118-115, scoring 12 points with 9 assists in 41 minutes of play. The Lakers won three of the first four games after Nash returned. However, they lost their next four, including a 125-112 loss to Houston on 8 January 2013, when Nash assisted on an Antawn Jamison jumper to become the fifth player in NBA history to reach 10,000 career assists.
Kobe Bryant was moved to defend the opponent’s primary ball handler, freeing Nash from unfavourable matchups. Nash also struggled with Dwight Howard to run the pick and roll, a play that D’Antoni had expected would be a staple for the Lakers. D’Antoni moved Nash off the ball and made him more of a spot-up shooter, while Bryant became the primary facilitator on offense. Nash missed the last eight games of the season with a right hip injury that also caused nerve damage in his right hamstring. The team qualified for the playoffs as the seventh seed, but were swept 4-0 by San Antonio in the first round. Nash missed the last two games of the series after recurring issues with his hip and hamstring. In what he called arguably “the most frustrating” season of his career, Nash missed a career-high 32 games in the regular season, and averaged his fewest assists (6.7) since 1999-2000, when he was a part-time starter with Dallas.
During 2013-14 season, Nash continued to suffer nerve problems stemming from his leg injury the prior season. In November, he was sidelined for an estimated minimum of two weeks due to nerve root irritation. Nash returned on February 4, 2014, shooting 3-for-6 for 7 points. On February 7, 2014, his 40th birthday, he scored a season-high 19 points in a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. On March 13, Nash was ruled out for the remainder of the season by D’Antoni. He was suffering from a recurrence of nerve problems stemming from an earlier collision to his left leg with Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich, and the Lakers wanted to give Kendall Marshall and Jordan Farmar more playing time. However, Nash returned on March 21 after a groin injury to Farmar that was expected to sideline him a minimum of two weeks.
In July 2014, Nash announced that the 2014-15 season would be his last. During the preseason, he experienced back pain, and further aggravated his back while lifting luggage. On October 23, less than a week before the start of what would have been the 40-year-old Nash’s 19th year in the NBA, he was ruled out for the season due to a recurring back injury. Nash only played in three preseason games before he started to feel more pain in his back. Nash on injuring his back: “Being on the court this season has been my top priority, and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now. I work very hard to stay healthy, and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest and will focus on my long-term health.”
Retirement and consulting duties
Nash announced his retirement from playing on March 21, 2015. Before the announcement, the Cleveland Cavaliers had said to Nash’s agent that they were interested in him as a backup for Kyrie Irving if Nash asked for a buyout. Nash refused it, due to both his health concerns and wanting to retire as a Laker in gratitude for the opportunity given by the club. Nash was later on approached by another former team of his, the Dallas Mavericks, to have one last season with them instead, but he declined due to his aforementioned health concerns.
On September 25, 2015, it was confirmed that Nash would take on part-time consulting duties for the Golden State Warriors. During his first season with the team, the Warriors produced a record-breaking 73-9 season, although the team fell short in the 2016 NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The next season, the Warriors would win the 2017 NBA Finals against the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers, giving Nash his first NBA championship in any role.
National team career
In the early 1990s, Nash was cut from the Canadian junior national team by head coach Ken Olynyk, father of future NBA player Kelly Olynyk. At age 17, he was the youngest member of Team Canada at the 1991 World University Games, where the team won a silver medal.
In 1993, while in college, he played for the senior national team at the Tournament of the Americas and competed in the Canada Games (for the British Columbia team) and World University Games. He won a bronze medal at the Canada Games and won a silver medal at the World University Games, losing to Team USA in a closely contested final, which included players such as Michael Finley and Damon Stoudamire.
At the 1999 Tournament of the Americas, Nash led Canada to the silver medal, qualifying the team for the Olympics for the first time in 12 years; he was named tournament MVP. Nash captained Canada at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He led Canada to win their round robin group with a victory over Spain and a stunning 83-75 win over favoured Yugoslavia when he scored 26 points with eight rebounds and eight assists. Canada was eliminated in the quarterfinals with a five-point loss to France and Nash left the court in tears. Nash expressed disappointment with the result, saying “It hurts a lot. I feel like I let everybody down. We could have been in the championship game. We were good enough.” Nevertheless, he did see a possible silver lining, saying “Hopefully kids will be inspired to playthat’s what I really hope.” A victory in its final game of the tournament, a placement game against Russia, enabled Canada to salvage seventh place. Nash’s Olympic performance propelled him to stardom in Canada and he finished fifth in voting for the 2000 Lionel Conacher Award, which is handed out to the Canadian male athlete of the year.
Nash again led Team Canada during qualifying for the 2004 Summer Olympics at the FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He led the tournament in assists and was named tournament MVP, but Canada finished fourth, missing out on the three Olympic spots available. That was the last time Nash played for Canada; he was reportedly upset about the firing of head coach Jay Triano in 2004. In December 2007, he said, “In my mind right now, I’m not going to play for Canada any more.”
On May 8, 2012, Nash became General Manager of the Canadian senior national team. Three months later, he rehired Triano as head coach.
Nash is most noted for his playmaking, ball-handling skills and shooting. He led the league in assists for five years, averaging 11.5 assists per game in 2004-05, 10.5 in 2005-06, 11.6 in 2006-07, 11.0 in 2009-10 and 11.4 in 2010-11 and won the 2005 and 2010 NBA All-Star Skills Contests. As of the end of 2012-13 season, he had a 90.4% career free-throw shooting average (best in NBA history) and a 42.8% career three-point shooting average (eighth-best in league history), and ranked as one of the top 10 players in league history in total assists, assists per game, and three-point field goals made. In addition, he is ranked second (starting from 1986-87) in regular season point-assist double doubles. In the 2005-06 season, Nash became the fourth player in NBA history to shoot 50% or better from the field, 40% from three-point range (43.9), and 90% from the line, joining Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, and Mark Price in the 50-40-90 club. Nash would repeat this feat three more times in the 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 campaigns. Nash (four times) and Larry Bird (two times) are the only players to have accomplished this feat more than once. A two-time NBA MVP, Nash is only the second point guard (along with Magic Johnson) to win the MVP award multiple times and the third guard in NBA history to earn back-to-back MVPs (joining Johnson and Michael Jordan). Only ten other NBA players have won back-to-back MVP awards: Johnson, Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry. On 11 May 2006, ESPN.com rated Nash as the 9th-best point guard of all time, and in a survey by nba.com in 2007, Nash received 85% of the votes by the league’s general managers as best point guard in the league. In a similar survey in 2009, Nash was rated as the best passer of the ball and the player possessing the best basketball IQ. Commenting on Nash losing out to former teammate Dirk Nowitzki for the 2007 NBA MVP, Boston Celtics centre and Hall of Famer Russell stated: “I think, on the world stage, he’s one of our great athletes in all sports… I’m a big fan. The two MVPs he got, he deserved. Part of the reason that he’s so good and so effective is that the guys like playing with him. He creates an atmosphere where they win games.”
In terms of specific skills, Nash was particularly effective playing the pick and roll, notably with Nowitzki when he was with the Mavericks and later with the Suns’ Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion. When Nash returned to Phoenix in 2004, he helped the Suns improve from a 29-53 record in 2003-04 to 62-20 in 2004-05, reaching the Conference Finals for the first time in 11 years, earning him his first MVP award. The next season, he led the Suns into the Conference Finals, despite the injuries of all three big men (Stoudemire, Kurt Thomas and Brian Grant); further, Nash was responsible for seven of his teammates attaining career-highs in season scoring. With Nash operating at the point, between the 2005-06 and 2009-10 seasons, the Suns led the league in field goal percentage.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|*||Led the league|
NBA career highlights
- 2 NBA Most Valuable Player: 2005, 2006
- 8 NBA All-Star: 2002-2003, 2005-2008, 2010, 2012
- 7 All-NBA selection:
- First team: 2005-2007
- Second team: 2008, 2010
- Third team: 2002, 2003
- 2 NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge winner: 2005, 2010
- 5 NBA regular season leader for assists per game: 2005 (11.5), 2006 (10.5), 2007 (11.6), 2010 (11.0), 2011 (11.4)
- 6 NBA regular season leader for total assists: 2005 (861), 2006 (826), 2007 (884), 2010 (892), 2011 (855), 2012 (664)
- 2 NBA regular season leader for free-throw percentage: 2006 (.921), 2010 (.938)
- 7 NBA regular season leader for assists per 48 minutes: 2004 (12.6), 2005 (16.1), 2006 (14.2), 2007 (15.8), 2008 (15.5), 2010 (16.1), 2011 (16.4)
- 4 member of 50-40-90 club: (2006, 2008-2010)
- Has more 50-40-90 seasons than any other player in NBA history
- One of only seven players to have ever shot 50-40-90
- One of only two players (the other being Larry Bird) to have shot 50-40-90 more than once
- Lou Marsh Trophy (Canadian athlete of the year): 2005
- 3 Lionel Conacher Award (Canadian male athlete of the year): 2002, 2005, 2006
- J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (NBA award for outstanding citizenship and community service): 2007
- Highest career free throw percentage in NBA history (minimum 1200 career attempts), 90.42 percent
Off the court
In 2001, Nash met Alejandra Amarilla in Manhattan. They married in June 2005 and had twin daughters, Lola and Bella, born on October 14, 2004 and a son, Matteo, born November 12, 2010. On the day of his son’s birth, Nash made a statement to Life & Style in which he announced the birth but called it a “bittersweet moment”, revealing that he and his wife had “lived separately for the past several months” and are “in the process of dissolving” their marriage. In March 2016, Nash became engaged to Lilla Frederick, a former Pepperdine University and junior women’s U.S. team volleyball player. They married in September 2016.
Nash’s younger brother, Martin, played soccer for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and made 30 appearances for the Canadian national soccer team. Their younger sister, Joann, was the captain of the University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team for three years and was named a Canada West Universities Athletic Association All-Star. She is married to professional ice hockey player Manny Malhotra. Nash has a godson named R.J. Barrett, who is considered to be a star basketball player in the making.
Nash has a medical condition called spondylolisthesis, which causes muscle tightness and back pain. Due to the condition, when he is not playing in basketball games, he lies on his back rather than sitting on the bench to keep his muscles from stiffening.
In 2001, Nash formed the Steve Nash Foundation. Through grants to public service and nonprofit entities, the foundation aims to foster health in kids by funding projects that provide services to children affected by poverty, illness, abuse, or neglect, and create opportunity for education, play, and empowerment. It focuses its resources on communities in Phoenix, Arizona, and British Columbia, Canada. It was given charitable status in 2004. This foundation was awarded the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy in 2008. Nash also founded the Jim Jennings Memorial Endowment Fund, established in honour of a volunteer staff member at Santa Clara University who served the basketball team for more than 20 years.
Elsewhere, Nash is the sponsor of the Steve Nash Youth Basketball League in British Columbia that has grown over 10,000 participants. He has also become involved with GuluWalk, a Canadian-operated charitable organization that raises awareness and funds for the war-affected children of northern Uganda. In September 2007, Nash and Yao Ming headlined a group of NBA players who travelled to China and played an exhibition game with the Chinese national basketball team. The charity event reportedly raised 2.5 million dollars, earmarked for Chinese children in need.
In May 2006, Nash was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In the accompanying write-up by Charles Barkley, Nash was lauded for his unselfishness on the basketball court, and being “just a nice guy” who had paid for a new pediatric cardiology ward in a Paraguayan hospital. On 28 December 2007, it was announced that Nash would receive Canada’s highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada, and on 3 June 2008, it was announced that Nash would receive a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. On 18 September 2009, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Victoria, in recognition of his athletic achievements and his philanthropic work on behalf of young people through the Steve Nash Foundation.
Nash is selective in his endorsements, preferring companies he deems socially responsible. After winning his first MVP award, he was approached to serve as spokesperson for numerous products, including MDG Computers, Raymond Weil watches, Vitamin Water, and Clearly Canadian bottled water. He also has a longstanding relationship with Nike. Nash is represented by agent Bill Duffy.
Nash grew up playing soccerhe stated in a 2005 interview that he could have played professionally if he had focused on itand continues to hold an interest in the sport. When Dirk Nowitzki arrived in the NBA from Germany, he and Nash became close friends, in part because they enjoyed watching soccer together. Nash is friends with several professional soccer players, including Alessandro Del Piero, Thierry Henry, Owen Hargreaves, Massimo Ambrosini and Steve McManaman. During his off-season, when he lives in New York City, he has trained with the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer, and once tried to arrange a pick-up game in the city’s Central Park with the Red Bulls and one of his local teams.
Nash, whose father was born in the Tottenham district of London, is a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur supporter, and has expressed interest in owning a minority stake in the club. “I’d like to be an owner. It’s something I could do for the rest of my life after my little window of popularity dies”, he said in an interview with The New York Times. Nash added, “I’ve been a passionate supporter all my life. My parents are from north London and so it’s not like I’m some Yank who wants to make a profit out of football. I don’t care about making money. I just want to see Spurs succeed and, if I can help, that’s great.” However, he said any participation in Spurs would come after his basketball career is over, and he has had only “casual contact” with chairman Daniel Levy and former director of football Damien Comolli. Nash is also a fan of Spain’s FC Barcelona, and Brazilian team Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, which his former Suns teammate Leandro Barbosa supports. When Barbosa visited Corinthians in 2007, the club gave him a shirt with Nash’s name and jersey number.
Nash had also previously made statements about his intention to bring Major League Soccer to Vancouver as early as 2011, which he has succeeded in doing. He joined the USL-1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC team’s ownership group in July 2008 and in March 2009, Vancouver was officially named as a future MLS expansion city, set to join the league in 2011. Nash occasionally attends practice for his co-owned team, also called Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Nash, along with former Yahoo! president and fellow Victoria-native Jeff Mallett, are investors in Women’s Professional Soccer, a soccer league that was launched in March 2009. Nash cited his twin daughters and wanting to have role models for them to look up to as a reason for supporting the league. Nash also co-hosted Showdown in Chinatown in 2008, an 8-on-8 charity soccer game held at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. He scored two goals in his team’s 8-5 victory. Participants included Thierry Henry, Jason Kidd, Baron Davis, and Suns teammates Raja Bell and Leandro Barbosa.
In July 2013, Nash participated in a training session with the Italian soccer club Inter Milan at the New York Red Bulls‘ facilities in New Jersey. He also trained with the New York Cosmos B of the American fourth-division National Premier Soccer League in 2015.
On January 5, 2016, it was announced that Nash was part of a group that purchased a $21 million stake in Spanish Segunda Divisin club RCD Mallorca. The group also included Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and Suns vice chairman Andy Kohlberg.
Nash and a Montreal-based partner, Leonard Schlemm, opened the first Steve Nash Sports Club in the spring of 2007 in downtown Vancouver, a high-end, $5-million, 38,500-square-foot (3,580 m2) facility that will mirror Nash’s own fitness philosophy.
In 2007, Nash wrote and produced an 81-second commercial for Nike titled “Training Day”, directed by Julian Schnabel‘s daughter Lola, which gained popularity as a viral video on YouTube. Nash also started a film production company together with his cousin, filmmaker Ezra Holland, and intends to produce independent films. The first creative effort to come from Meathawk was a 91-second commercial, titled “The Sixty Million Dollar Man”, for Nike’s eco-friendly Trash Talk shoe, the first high-performance shoe to be madeat the behest of the environmentally conscious Nashfrom recycled materials. Nash has worn the shoe since February 2008 but Nike produced only 5,000 pairs for sale. The ad which broke virally on Earth Day 2008, was written by Nash and the directors of the spot, Danny Vaia and Ezra Holland. It is a spoof remake of the title sequence of the American television series The Six Million Dollar Man and plays on Nash’s numerous on-court collisions. Amar’e Stoudemire and Raja Bell have cameo appearances. Nash and Holland also co-directed the documentary Into the Wind, about iconic Canadian athlete and activist Terry Fox, as part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. In October 2013, Nash appeared in the music video for “City of Angels” by Thirty Seconds to Mars.
For the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, Nash became the first NBA player in Olympic history to carry the torch and light the Olympic cauldron.
Nash is also known for his outspoken political views. He was an early, public opponent of the 2003 Iraq War, wearing a custom-made T-shirt to the 2003 NBA All Star Game that stated “No war – Shoot for peace”. Although Nash did get positive support from teammate Nick Van Exel among others, he also drew criticism from David Robinson, a former Naval officer and fellow NBA player as well as commentators like Skip Bayless who criticized Nash as being uninformed and advised him to “just shut up and play”. Nash has also been critical of Arizona’s SB1070, legislation which seeks to aggressively address illegal immigration, as he felt “the law obviously can target opportunities for racial profiling.” In August 2017, Nash was critical of President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the 2017 Unite the Right rally, stating that “to defend white supremacists and then slang his shitty ass grape juice pretty much sums the man up”, referring to a winery Donald Trump has in Charlottesville, Virginia.