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Just a reminder, Steve Nash is the superstar everyone’s clamoring for, except for the defense thing

Feb 5, 2011, 3:30 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

We’re on a dicey ledge here, so hang on to the wall, won’t you?

Steve Nash is the superstar you want on your team. While everyone from LeBron James to Dwight Howard to Carmelo Anthony to Rip Hamilton have either left their teams or threatened to leave their teams, Nash is bypassing any and all option to escape Phoenix and their plummeting prospects of relevance. From ESPN:

Nash insisted again this week, as he lunched on five-bean soup and the healthiest of chopped salads at one of his go-to temples for food purity, that he won’t be lobbying Suns owner Robert Sarver and new team president Lon Babby to send him to a contender.

“Maybe I’m old school,” Nash said, “but I signed a contract to play here and I want to honor it. I feel like I owe it to my teammates and the city and everybody to keep battling until they tell me it’s time to go.”

via Weekend Dime: Suns set on keeping Nash – ESPN.

Nash goes on to say he’s committed to the franchise, committed to the fans. Pretty much everything you’d want to hear from your superstar instead of the endless refrain of “I want to win a championship” which is always bereft of actual responsibility for said title.

But then, isn’t this the kind of non-obsessive drive for glory that we so often harangue athletes for? Don’t we idolize Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Kevin Garnett because they’ll quite simply do anything to win? Don’t we revere Garnett for ditching Minnesota for a shot to win a title, and chalk up Kobe Bryant’s 2007 trade request to “just being Kobe?” So if we praise that kind of disregard for fan, franchise and contract, shouldn’t we abhor Nash’s settling for losing?

But then, as always, it comes back to LeBron. We don’t mind if you ditch your team, we mind how you ditch your team. Middle of the night in a trade request? Fine and dandy. National television? We mind a lot. And for Nash, who so many still hold some sort of ridiculous resentment over two MVP trophies that, regardless of whoever else’s accomplishments those years, he was more than worthy of, he’ll continue to be underrated, and be held out of reach of a title, the only thing that can truly validate a magnificent career.

In the end, though, Nash is fine with that. He doesn’t need our approval, our praise, our excuses. He’s able to look himself in the mirror and be proud of his career. And that’s worth enough in and of itself.



  1. leearmon - Feb 5, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Very good write up. Although Nash doesn’t need our approval or excuses, his legacy will be tainted. He will go down as probably the only league MVP to never appear in a finals, all the while playing with two of the premier players of this generation (Dirk & Amar’e). Plus, he sounds a bit naive when he says he signed a contract and wants to honor it, the fans, yada yada yada.. Owners fail to “honor” contracts all of the time, they’re called trades. I have no problem with players who give all they have on the court, and want the same from their front office in regards to building a true contender, and use their leverage to do so. We all know, if these same players do not fail to win, they will get ridiculed in the media. We’ve seen it time and time again. Look at the Lebron scenario. Plenty of respected “journalists” claim that he’s not a winner, quit in the playoffs, and is not clutch.! Loyalty is great when it comes to women, dogs and friends, but in regards to work, you need to practice the first law of nature.

    I want my star to be an uber competitor if you are a franchise player, losing cannot be an option, and unfortunately for Nash it seems that it has become his only one. But you can’t blame him, because he doesnt seem to ever receive the same level of harsh criticism as his fellow NBA peers.

    • borderline1988 - Feb 6, 2011 at 12:09 AM

      Get real man.
      Steve Nash is a classy guy among egocentric maniacs.
      “Doesn’t seem to ever receive the same level of harsh criticism as his fellow NBA players”? What a stupid statement. Exactly what should he be criticized for? He’s a coach’s dream who doesn’t get into trouble. How rare is that in today’s NBA?

      Albeit, he did never win a championship (although in his team’s arguably best year, the referee’s cheated them out of a championship. If they would have gotten past the Spurs in 07, who would have stopped them then on?)
      Ultimately, superstar PG’s are not enough to win championships. It’s never really happened before (Magic Johnson doesn’t count for obvious reasons).
      And the point about “losing cannot be an option” is also moot. Don’t you find it funny when these ‘uber-competitors’ always seem to want to be traded to NY, LA, Miami, Boston, etc.? Why don’t they ask for San Antonio, Orlando, Denver, OKC, Portland, etc.?
      Because winning doesn’t matter as much as women, sun, and the bright, shining lights.

      • leearmon - Feb 6, 2011 at 3:15 PM

        Your points are pathetic and without merit. Who is an egocentric maniac that you speak of? Can I get an example please?

        What should Nash be criticized for? Are you kidding me? Name 3 worst starting PG in the NBA in terms of defense. Please I beg you. Those Spurs series in which you speak of, The Suns were at a huge disadvantage because Nash couldn’t defend any of San Antonio’s perimeter players. Same goes for when he was in Dallas. This is clear to anyone who objectively watches NBA basketball.

        He’s never won a championship, and has NEVER EVEN APPEARED IN A FINALS!!! Shawn Kemp for goodness sakes appeared in a finals before. Allen Iverson, guys who are nowhere near the player Nash is, but still got there, and did so without playing with rosters which included Nowitzki, Finley & Stoudemire, Johnson, Marion, Barbosa ect.

        “The referees cheated them out of a championship” Are you serious?? If my memory servers me right, Nash wasn’t suspended for any game during that series. Amar’e and Diaw were suspended for game 5 in which Nash led Phoenix to a 16 point lead, but then choked in the 4th quarter as the Spurs perimeter players dominated (see Nash’s poor defense) and forced a game 6!! Amar’e and Diaw were both back for that game, and they still lost. So the Suns were cheated out of a championship although they couldn’t even get to the Conference Finals, or force a game 7 in the Semis???? That excuse you gave is my exact point. No one would make that same excuse for Kobe, Lebron, Dirk, Durant, Dwight K.G. ect. Every other NBA superstar gets criticized when they do not perform in the playoffs. Point blank. Nash was that team’s best player, not Amar’e or Diaw. Can you imagine Scottie Pippen & Toni Kukoc being suspended for one game, and the Bulls losing a series in 6, and people using the suspensions as to why Jordan couldn’t win that series? Me either. If Jordan is too much of a stretch, can you imagine that being done for Kobe? Lebron? even Chris Paul? Didnt think so.

        “Ultimately, superstar PG are not enough to win championships.” Tell that to Isaiah Thomas. He won two. And lets not act as if Nash was the sole great player on ANY of his teams. Again, he played with Dirk, Finley in Dallas. In Phoenix he had Amar’e, Marion, JJ (for one year), Barbosa, Diaw ect. Doesn’t seem like he was going it alone does it?

        “Don’t you find it funny when these ‘uber-competitors’ always seem to want to be traded to NY, LA, Miami, Boston, etc.?”

        Again, you need to be specific. Who exactly are you referring to when you say “want to be traded”? The only players I can think of who recently demanded a trade are Melo, Kobe, Arenas, Iverson, Paul (to a lesser extent) Vince Carter Antawn Jamison ect.

        Melo had Orlando as one of his teams he wanted to be traded to. Kobe wanted to be traded to Chicago, not a lot of “sun” in the windy city. Arenas wanted to be traded to Orlando too, Iverson was traded to Denver. Chris Paul has also listed Orlando as a city he would want to play for. Vince wanted out of New Jersey, was shipped to Orlando. Jamison wanted out of D.C. after last year, was shipped to Cleveland!! Hell even Shaq wanted out of Miami, and went to Phoenix So as you can see, making baseless claims doesn’t enhance your argument, it just makes you seem foolish, and ill informed. If you don’t think Lebron wanted out of Cleveland because he wanted to win, you’re crazy. If you don’t think K.G. wanted out of Minnesota because he wanted to win, you’re nuts. If you don’t think Chris Bosh wanted out of Toronto because he wanted win.. Well, you get the point….

    • mothertrucker1555 - Feb 6, 2011 at 1:47 PM

      You were making sense until you used the word “uber”…

      After that you became irrelevant.

  2. sixers25 - Feb 5, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    Two MVPs and 1 conference finals appearance= really overrated. I thought this article would be about how people wanted Steve Nash but realize how much he sucks at defense.

  3. craigw24 - Feb 6, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    “…and be held out of reach of a title, the only thing that can truly validate a magnificent career.”

    You have truly been watching ESPN too long. In a team sport there are always really great players who will not win a ring – think Dan Marino – and while that does come up in the conversation, it shouldn’t prevent any career from being described as magnificent.

    The most dominant player ever to play in the NBA – Wilt Chamberlain – only won 2 titles. Why? Because an absolutely dominant team was out there. Wilt didn’t lose because of Bill Russell. He lost because the Celtics were just that much better a team than everyone else – I will say Bill Russell was the linchpin on that team.

  4. truprof - Feb 7, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Other great NBA players to never win a title (some of these were voted into the 50 greatest of all-time):
    1. Nate Thurmond
    2. Connie Hawkins
    3. Pete Maravich
    4. Patrick Ewing
    5. George Gervin
    6. Alex English
    7. Dave Bing
    8. Karl Malone
    9. John Stockton
    10. Gary Payton

    And here are NBA MVPs who never won a title;
    Steve Nash, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Dirk Nowitzki, Allen Iverson and Lebron James.

    I don’t find the careers or legacies of any of these players to be tainted by lack of a championship ring. That argument holds no water. None!

    • leearmon - Feb 7, 2011 at 3:00 PM

      Gary Payton has won a NBA title. Also, of all of these guys on the list how many of them have never made a finals appearance? Again, Nash is the only MVP EVER to fail to make a NBA Finals appearance. There is no debate on that at all. If you are comparing Alex English to Steve Nash, then you are making a better point for my case then I could ever imagine.

      • truprof - Feb 8, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        What exactly IS your case?

        I’ll tell you mine; Nash has never gone to an NBA Finals because the teams he was on simply weren’t as good as their competition. In their 3 Western Conf. finals appearances since Nash rejoined the team, they were beaten by the Spurs (2005), the Mavericks (2006) and the Lakers (2010). They came darn close, and if I’m Steve Nash or any other member of those Suns teams, I’m not hanging my head in shame over those defeats. They were great, hard fought series.

  5. leearmon - Feb 8, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    My case is, Steve Nash’s legacy will be tainted. I believe that was my initial sentence in the very first post. Not very hard to find. He is the only MVP in the history of the league who has never willed his team to a Finals appearance. Period. No matter how many excuses, or Alex English’s you pull up, you can’t deny the fact. If you mean to tell me those mid 2000 Suns teams were not among the best squads in the league, you are either very forgetful, or just haven’t taken the time out to look at those rosters. Those Phoenix teams were more loaded than the Cavs team Lebron took to the Finals. More loaded than the 76ers team Iverson took to the Finals. And what’s even more damning, the Mavs never could get past the Spurs with Nash (due to his horrid defense) but 2 years later they beat both the Spurs & Nash’s Suns to make it to the Finals. So let me spell my point out to you because you clearly can’t read it on your own. Nash, although he is one of the greatest players ever to step on an NBA court, is not a centerpiece of a championship team. For all of his offensive greatness, he is equally bad on the defensive end. He has been surrounded by great teams, playing with two of the greatest power forwards of our era (Dirk, Amar’e) yet has not been able to reach the mountain top. Those “great, hard fought series” you speak of, how many of those even went to a game 7? I’ll tell you, NONE! And that “great” 2005 series vs the Spurs ended in 5 games! Come on, this is a joke. But you perfectly summarize my point in your last two sentences.

    “They came darn close, and if I’m Steve Nash or any other member of those Suns teams, I’m not hanging my head in shame over those defeats. They were great, hard fought series.” – If Nash is like you, and is not hanging his head after those defeats, he isn’t one of the greats. Bird, Magic, Jordan, Kobe, Russell ect. could not stand to lose. Coming close doesn’t cut it for the premier players in this league, but by your own account it does for Nash, and without criticism by the media to boot. So what exactly is your case?

  6. truprof - Feb 8, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    With all due respect to you and to your opinion, my case is that Nash, however great he is or was, and however poor his defensive abilities, he was one member of teams that could not get over the hump vs. superior competition. IF those loaded Suns and Mavs teams were superior, they would have won. But the proof is in the results and they came up short.
    In no way did I mean to imply that coming close cuts it for Nash or anyone else for that matter, nor that he should be immune to criticism. When an athlete plays a competitive sport in the public arena, victory and championships are the goal and criticism for coming up short comes with the territory. As for my comment regarding “hanging his head”; that has to do with today. I’m pretty damn sure that every member of those losing squads were hanging their heads after those defeats. But today, years later? I’m equally sure they’ve all moved on.
    Years from now when some people think of Steve Nash, they will see his legacy as tainted. That is certainly their prerogative. Others will remember an exciting competitor who played at a high level for a long time, championships or not. That is who I will remember. But as they say in the auto industry, your mileage may vary.

  7. leearmon - Feb 8, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    i can most definitely respect that.

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