Steve Nash will be playing for the Phoenix Suns next season. He most likely will play out the remainder of his career with the Phoenix Suns, for better or worse. There are many fans and critics out there who dislike this extension, and many who will applaud it. Steve Nash also knows this:
"A lot of people have written us off. There are a lot of fans in Phoenix that really support us and believe in us, I want to figure it out for those people."
For those of us who believe in him and the chances of the Phoenix Suns' return to Western Conference contention this season, we are blessed. Yet for the rest of the Phoenix Sun faithful, this extension is nothing more than drawing out an inevitable, painful fall from the top of the NBA's heap of giants.
Listening to Nash at the press conference left me thinking about a number of things, including the Grant Hill re-signing. I always find it interesting when an athlete, faced with his last shot to pursue his personal goals, makes a decision that would seem to go against the grain of the professional athlete persona. We know it well-the greed, the lust for money, winning, fame. So which is it for Steve Nash? He has plenty of money already. When we see him on T.V., he's not encouraging us to buy anything, he is reminding us to conserve electricity. He is known for his non profit foundation and his international humanitarian efforts. And let us not forget his venture into cinema . Clearly we are not dealing with the typical athlete. Steve Nash's life does not solely revolve around basketball.
So what does all of this mean for the Phoenix Suns, and most importantly us, the fans? Why Steve Nash, why do you want to stay a Sun, why sign that extension knowing very well the team has "things to figure out." Why not play out your contract and sign on with a winner, you know, win a championship before you end your career? Wouldn't that add to the resume, you know, give you that extra push into the Hall of Fame?
Turns out we didn't know what was important to Steve Nash:
"For as long as I've played any sport, it always felt great when you were out there with a group of guys that have the same goal and are looking out for each other and wanted the best for one another..."
That is, it's the game, it's being out on the court with guys you like who all have the same interests out there. Nash says nothing about winning the title, in fact, like most of us on BSOTS, he thinks the Suns are a playoff contender right now and little else. There is no mention of championship, not talk about contention with the elite of the West. Steve Nash is realistic.
If you listen to Nash in his conference today you hear a few words over and over again: "chemistry", "excited," "environment," "underdogs." I believe he is excited about this team. Yes he is good friends with Grant Hill, but there's more, 12 other guys on the squad he likes to play with. He likes Alvin Gentry, Steve Kerr, and even Bob Sarver. Why not be happy and excited? He has realized what is most important to him-playing basketball with a group of guys with chemistry.
This is what Steve Nash believes: enjoy your teammates, enjoy the game of basketball together while you can, enjoy the ride. It has the ring of some Buddhist philosophy to it. Maybe we can all take a lesson from Steve. There will be only one winner in the NBA. It cannot be the Phoenix Suns every time. And while we all would like to feel the glory of winning a Championship just once, to consider anything less as a failure doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
[Note by Phoenix Stan, 07/27/09 7:54 PM MST ]
Thanks Wil. I am going to add some thoughts on what Nash had to say...
What Nash is telling us with his decision is that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.
It's a life philosophy that doesn't dominate the sports world but it is one that we can all learn a little from; as long as the effort and desire to win is still there. With Nash last year there were times it wasn't as his frustration with Porter's system obviously impacted his on the court behavior. His chemistry was unbalanced the results were less than impressive.
There's no reason to doubt that the chemical concoction will prove once again to be explosive. It will take that kind of extraordinary effort to overcome this team's defensive short-comings and rebounding woes and Nash thinks the recipe for success isn't just throwing 13 talented guys into a locker room. He believes in the concept of synergy and he obviously feel the the sum of these happy parts is greater than the potential results elsewhere.
It's a plan for success that is contrary to the last few years of rapid fire trades under Sarver and Kerr. It is the Nash Plan. The fortunate thing for Steve is that if he finally gets what he wants and doesn't win he can always fall back on being happy and having the opportunity to play with some nice fellas.
As a person I get it and I admire the Nash Way. It is an honorable and sane way to live one's life.
But as a fan of the Phoenix Suns who have yet to win a championship I am not so sure. To win that ring you need guys that are willing to run through fire to get it. You need guys who's entire life purpose is being the best and besting the other guy every night. Every possession. It is hard to see this Suns team reaching that level of championship hunger and Nash is telling us as fans to be ok with that. We should sit back and enjoy the team's chemistry and their happiness to be playing together (for rather large sums of money).
We as fans can't want to win more than the players on the court and so all it seems we are left with is a team that will have fun, enjoy the journey and provide a high-level of basketball entertainment. You have to decide for yourself if that's good enough for you.