Steve Nash impacted so many lives, and now tonight his own life is being impacted once again with his induction in the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor. #NashROH
Tonight, at halftime of the Suns/Blazers game at Talking Stick Resort Arena, the best point guard in Suns history - and one of the best in league history - will get recognized by a plethora of Suns and Mavericks, past and present, and will be added to the Suns Ring on Honor as its 14th member.
We here at BSotS love a good round table. We've shared some of our best memories of Nash, and we'd love to hear YOUR thoughts in the comments section.
What is your FIRST Nash memory?
Dave King: I remember Nash's rookie season and thinking 'they already have two point guards (Sam Cassell to Jason Kidd, along with Kevin Johnson)'. But I only half-thought about it. I wasn't a rabid follower during those years because I was working full-time, taking masters classes at night, and trying to care for a young family. Basketball, fiction books and even regular TV all had to sit on the back burner. I can imagine if BSotS were around back then, that the commenters would have been up in arms wasting the 15th pick on another point guard. I mean, who does that?
Rollin J. Mason: My dad swearing up and down that Nash would be better than Kevin Johnson. I didn't watch the Suns much during that time -- I was barely a teenager and my ADD-raddled brain temporarily lost interest after a string of first-round playoff defeats -- but I thought Nash to be little more than a plucky shooter, kind of a mini Rex Chapman or something, so I scoffed to myself at my dad's hyperbolic proclamation. It's still baffling how dramatically Nash improved throughout his career all the way up to his mid-30's.
Deadpoolio: Honestly, my very first memory of Steve Nash has nothing to do with basketball. I remember riding my bike around the neighborhood shortly after Phoenix had drafted him and trying to figure what his name added up to numerically by assigning numbers to the letters in his name. You know, A=1, B=2, etc. Why I was doing this, I have no idea (I guess I was just weird). Anyway, you asked for my FIRST Nash memory, and now you have it. P.S. His name equaled 113, by the way.
Austin Elmer: I was only nine years old when Nash joined the Suns. I honestly don't even remember Nash joining the Suns. He was a Sun when I started watching NBA basketball. I remember being amazed at how a short guy with long hair could slice through defenses to set up his teammates for open looks. That's the first thing I noticed when I watched Steve Nash play, he was incredibly unselfish.
Scott Howard: I mean I remember when the Suns drafted Steve Nash and all that but the first time I REALLY remember paying him any mind was when there were trade rumors during his 2nd season. I specifically remember packages to send him to Toronto for Damon Stoudamire or to the Kings for Mitch Richmond and being 13 years old I was always down for trading the inexperienced young player for the guy I had heard of - particularly when Jason Kidd was on the roster. The lesson as always is that my front office acumen is never to be trusted. That was a different one, huh?
Jim Coughenour: The first that really resonates with me is when the Suns signed him as a free agent in the summer of 2004. It never occurred to me at the time he would go on to win two MVP's and engineer one of the most entertaining offenses in NBA history, but alongside Shawn Marion and Amar'e Stoudemire I thought the Suns had taken another step towards becoming a contender again. Still, I really thought Nash would be more of an ancillary piece than such an integral one.
Sreekar: My first memory of Nash, and really my first real flirtation with the Suns and the NBA in general, was on May 18, 2005. I happened upon Game 5 of the Suns-Mavs Western Conference Semifinals and watched as this skinny, floppy-haired and seemingly out-of-place dude put up 34 points, 12 assists, and 13 rebounds to beat the Mavs. That was when I became a basketball fan. The next game in the series, the closeout Game 6 where Nash posted a 39-12-9 line to finish Dallas off in OT, was the one that cemented my Suns and Steve Nash fandom.
When did you first think Nash would be an All-Star caliber player?
Dave King: I honestly didn't follow Nash much in Dallas. I knew he struggled badly after the trade (in which the Suns got Jason Kidd), but then got a lot better as time went on. Still, he wasn't really on my mind as an All-Star until he suddenly playing at MVP-worth levels in Phoenix.
RJM: When he became one. With Suns taking him in the first round and Dallas trading a lotto pick for him, I honestly didn't know what teams saw in him. Was it just the novelty of a goofy little Canadian dude? When his tenure in Dallas started so poorly that he was booed at home by his own fans, I thought my doubts had been more or less confirmed. Then suddenly it was like an action movie montage -- he emerges with a gnarly haircut and starts whooping ass. It happened so fast I didn't have time to process it.
Deadpoolio: I don't recall much about Nash before he returned in 2004. I knew he was a good, solid point guard and that Dallas fans had booed him mercilessly in the past due to his injuries. But when he played that first game of the 2004-05 season and the Suns throttled Atlanta by 30 points, that's when I knew there was something special there — not because of the result but because of how easily the pieces fit together on the court.
Austin Elmer: Instantly. From the first time I saw him play in 2004. Steve Nash was basketball for me at that time in my life. I didn't even know Dallas use to boo him until last year.
Scott Howard: I'm kind of with Rollin on this one - I basically didn't think he'd be an All-Star until I watched the 2002 All-Star game and as like "oh hey, that's former Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash and he's playing in the All-Star game. Pat Garrity and a 1st round pick weren't really proper compensation for that, were they? "
Jim Coughenour: I didn't really consider him an All-Star caliber player until the 2004-05 season. Obviously he had made an All-Star appearance before then, but so did Kyle Korver last year and when I think of Korver I don't associate him with being an All-Star. I guess that's just more in line with a player making multiple appearances. When Nash came back to Phoenix I was floored by how good he played (I think everyone was to varying extents).
Sreekar: Since I only started watching Nash and the Suns after he had already become an All-Star and an MVP (not that I knew this context at the time), I obviously knew he was an All-Star from the onset of my journey as an NBA fan.
Be honest. What is your recollection of your reaction when the Suns signed Nash in summer 2004?
Dave King: When the Suns signed Nash, he wasn't really a star, in star-terms, so I didn't know what the Suns were getting when they signed him in 2004. I just remember thinking for that money it must be worth it. I knew they were going for it, signing Nash and sign-and-trading for Quentin Richardson. But that was to improve a 29-win team. I knew Nash would be better than Leandro Barbosa, who was badly overmatched the prior year. So that was a plus.
RJM: I was glad he wasn't Stephon Marbury and it was good to see him back. but I thought the Suns would be a sixth seed at best.
Deadpoolio: I thought, ‘Hey, Steve Nash is coming back to Phoenix. Neat.' Did I think he would win two MVP awards and go on to spearhead one of the greatest runs in team history? No.
Austin Elmer: I was too young to remember. I didn't start following the Suns until the 2004 season.
Scott Howard: I really didn't give it much mind. It happened during one of the rare periods of my life where I wasn't living in Phoenix so I wasn't surrounded by the rest of the fan base so I think my main thought was "well he used to play in Phoenix. Isn't that neat?"
Jim Coughenour: I thought he was going to be a really good piece next to Amar'e while Stoudemire developed into the player who would lead the Suns to their first championship. I wasn't even sure whether Nash would be a part of that or not. The future was STAT, not Nas.
Sreekar: Literally nothing. Didn't know Nash, didn't know the Suns, barely knew the NBA at all.
What is your very favorite memory (or video, from youtube) of Nash from 2004-2010?
Dave King: That triple-double against the Mavs, and beating them in the second round of the playoffs was incredible. But really the whole 2006 playoffs with the under-sized team, somehow making Tim Thomas a major threat and even taking a 1-0 lead on Dallas in the WCF before yet another injury (Raja Bell) was my most fond memory of two-time.
RJM: Game 4 at San Antonio, 2010, when he swept away the Spurs with one eye. The ballsiest moment in Suns history.
Deadpoolio: Nash's sense of humor. Many players are great on the court, but you never get much of a sense for who they are off the court. Nash had no problem letting people see who he really was. And if you have never seen Nash's Vitamin Water commercials (or even if you have), go waste some time on YouTube watching them. I'll get you started.
Austin Elmer: My favorite memory of Nash was Game 4 of the 2007 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Lakers. Steve Nash dropped a career high 23 assists, which led to a 113-100 victory for the Suns. He also added 17 points with only 3 turnovers. I remember being in awe at the display Steve Nash was putting on.
Scott Howard: I mentioned this on Intentionally Foul (the hit new podcast starring Sreekar and yours truly) but it's after the end of the 2010 Western Conference Finals when Alvin Gentry hugs him and he's crying. To me that symbolized a player who gave everything he had to the Phoenix Suns - to the franchise, to the fans.
Jim Coughenour: I'm going to go with the "We want Steve!" chants at the end of Nash's last game as a Sun. Similar to Scott's take, it was a show of affection for someone who embodied everything it meant to win the heart of a fanbase and a city... only this time it was smiles instead of heartache. How apropos it as against the Spurs. This is how I try to remember Steve, instead of the unfulfilled promise of his era with Suns. Nash isn't my favorite Sun ever, but I don't think anyone else parallels how I identify with the team the way he does.
Sreekar: I too mentioned this on Intentionally Foul, the critically acclaimed podcast taking the internet by storm, but I agree with Scott. Nash crying in the locker room post-elimination in 2010 might be my saddest memory as a Suns fan, but one of my favorite ones because it truly captured Nash's journey and plight. My other favorite memory is his one-eyed fourth quarter against the Spurs that same postseason, when he exorcised his demons by posting 10 points and 5 assists with just one eye in the 4th quarter to eliminate the Spurs.
In the spirit of Nash's pelvic shearing episode, what is the most embarrassing injury you've ever suffered? You know, one that you couldn't explain without laughing at yourself?
Dave King: My left shoulder is a mess. I've always been double-jointed there, able 'hide' my arms behind my head. But some of you may know that such limbrosity doesn't bode well for the future. Walking down a hallway with friends one day in college, I flailed my arm out sideways to punch a friend in the stomach. As I missed, there was an intense pain in my shoulder. I have no idea how, but somehow (I found out much later) I tore the labrum. In the moment, I was embarrassed and acted like nothing had happened. Years went by, because I couldn't believe I'd really hurt myself and I was poor, so I never got it checked out. But lifting any weight over my head was a no-go, and even combing my hair eventually required me re-set the shoulder to hold the comb. This 'how it happened' is not a good story to tell your doctor when you finally get it checked out. I had surgery on it about 15 years ago now, but still can't sleep on my left side and range of motion over my head is limited. Awful story, really.
RJM: This happened when I was about 10 years old. I was in my bedroom trying to read, but was distracted by a plastic bag that had blown into the branches of a tree right outside my window and was making a lot of noise in the wind. I headed outside to remove it, but couldn't reach it. In a moment of sheer brilliance, I decided the best course of action would be to toss a brick up into the bag, to thus pull it down with it's own weight. I missed, and now the brick was stuck in the tree, too. While I was bending down looking for something else I could use to remove the pesky bag, the brick came loose and struck me in the head. There was a lot of blood and I had to be picked up in an ambulance.
Since this happened in a small town, I still run into people from time to time that say "oh yeah, I remember you! You're the kid who threw a brick on his head!"
Deadpoolio: I will put my injury history up against anyone's. Outside of the standard sprains, strains, breaks, and dislocations, I have fallen off the roof multiple times, nearly slit my wrist with a wood planer, and simultaneously broken and chiseled my hand. (Luckily the bleeding stopped when the swelling kicked in. Of course, being me, I "fixed" my hand myself with a makeshift cast using a carpal tunnel brace and Popsicle sticks.) And none of that even includes the several times I almost gouged my eye out with a knife or the infamous katana incident. But my stupidest injury that I haven't blocked out has to be the time I sprained my neck doing the dance from A Night at the Roxbury to Haddaway's What Is Love.
Austin Elmer: I haven't gotten a lot of injuries that I can think of. There was one time I somehow managed to cut my finger open with a butterknife. There was also a time where I was making S'mores with some friends and this guy lit his marshmallow on fire and was holding it out for everyone to see. I had the bright idea of smacking away his marshmallow. Unfortunately, I didn't think to use something other than my hand. The marshmallow instantly covered my palm, burning it. I soaked my hand in aloe vera for the rest of the night.
Scott Howard: At first I was thinking that I didn't have anything stupid....then I remembered when I was 17 I was playing around with a screwdriver trying to get it stuck in the ground (which I guess is a thing when you're 17?) and I accidentally opened a nice little gash on my calf. My god that was stupid. Is this still a Steve Nash roundtable?
Jim Coughenour: I've hurt myself in a variety of comical ways... I'm kind of an imbecile... but in the spirit of this being a Nash tribute... During a basketball game when I was young I got fouled driving to the basket and went face down on the floor, leaving part of one of my front teeth embedded in the wood. I shot, and made, my free throws before checking out of the game for a while. I came back in the game, though, broken tooth and all... and went on to have one of the best showings of my life in the fourth quarter. Like turn around three pointer bank shots while double teamed good. That sounds a little Nash-esque.
Sreekar: It was the first day of 7th grade. I was a guileless 11-year old, gleefully unbothered by life's tribulations. In one of my classes, we did a stupid little first day, get-to-know-each-ther exercise where we filled in a bunch of blanks to describe ourselves. For "I have never __________" I decided to write "broken a bone." I should have knocked on wood. I did not. Later that day after school, I was playing baseball with some friends, but with no gloves. I was in the outfield. Robby was up to bat. Tensions were high. Robby hits the ball high into the air, I call for it, and catch it successfully. After half a second, I feel a sharp pain in my pinky and it turns out it wasn't entirely a successful catch. I broke my pinky (I broke the same pinky again a few years later in a different part of the finger – it resembles Owen Wilson's nose at this point).
On second thought, maybe I should have written about that time I tripped over a bike as a 10 year old and got it's metal handle slightly and momentarily lodged into my leg, leaving a nice circle above my knee. Oh well. I love you, Steve Nash.