Being born in Phoenix, and spending most of my early childhood there, I was around the Phoenix Suns quite a bit. They’re my favorite team, as they should be.
During this period in my life, the Suns went on an incredible seven year run, with a point guard named Steve Nash leading the team. In the seven years, they made the playoffs six times, and missed the Finals by one series three times.
Steve Nash announced his retirement Saturday. It wasn’t a shock, as we knew it was coming sometime this season. I wasn’t shocked. However, when the news was officially released, it made me really look back on him, and those teams I watched growing up. It was kinda surreal, and I was pretty emotional about it.
Nash was the first basketball player I ever knew of. With basketball being my Dad’s favorite sport, he had me introduced to the sport at a young age. I’ve been watching basketball since.
What made me fall in love with basketball was those Suns teams from 2003-2010. The perfection of offense that featured Nash, and coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni takes a lot of crap nowadays. People make fun of him quite a bit. What some don’t realize is, D’Antoni revolutionized basketball with Nash. The fast paced, fly up and down the court offense, with one big guy and a bunch of shooters. Shooters who made their shots. And a point guard who commanded the game, then took over when needed. That’s how those teams were ran. And they worked, and were a ton of fun to watch.
Perhaps the most important trait about Nash was his toughness. I can’t count how many times I saw him on T.V. with a bloody face, nose, eye, etc, in the playoffs. And he played through it. That’s toughness, and it taught me what toughness was at that age.
Nash’s game will always be remembered. He’s one of the most unique players the NBA has ever seen. A guy who could shoot, pass, play excellent defense, and take over when needed. And at his size, it’s pretty impressive.
Watching those Suns teams really taught me basketball, and how it’s truly played. How it’s truly a team game. While Nash was the best player on those teams, guys like Shawn Marion, Leandro Barbosa, Amare Stoudamire, Raja Bell, etc, helped him out. Having chemistry is so important in basketball. Those teams had it for so long. It’s amazing they never won a title. It’s amazing, that in 47 seasons, the Phoenix Suns have never won a championship.
With so many great players in their history, the Suns are perhaps the best franchise to have not won a title. Too many players have came through Phoenix for that not to be the case.
Nash is undoubtedly a top three player in Suns history. I’m not going to speculate about it now, and really, I don’t care. There’s too many options.
Nash was more than a point guard. He was an inspiration no matter what happened and no matter where he played.
The trade to the Lakers was devastating at the time, but really, we won that trade, and I’m allowing myself to admit that. To me, Nash will always be a Sun. His best days were here in the Valley. Yes, he brokeout in Dallas, and became friends with Dirk Nowitski, but Nash had his success here, and that’s what matters.
Nash, as said above, was more than a point guard. He was a inspiration, a role model, a beloved player, and my favorite player in basketball. Ever. And he always will be.
Column tomorrow on the NBA’s 8th seed races and Kevin Durant…..