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Steve Nash didn’t play for Canada but wants to lead team

Sep 14, 2011, 11:35 AM EDT

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It was a disappointment when Canada — working hard to build up its national basketball team — failed to make even next summers pre-Olympics second chance qualifying tournament this summer. Canada was just not impressive at the FIBA Americas tournament.

Of course, they were without the best Canadian player, Steve Nash. Or Tristan Thompson. Or Jamaal Magloire. Or a number of other of Canada’s best.

Now Nash wants a larger role with the team.

No, not as a player. He wants more of a front office type role, according to the Globe & Mail. (Who does he think he is, Wayne Gretzky?)

“I wanted to consider playing this summer. But the truth is I was rehabbing an injury all summer and couldn’t have played regardless,” Nash said Tuesday as he pressed the buzzer at Toronto’s stock exchange to kick off trading….

“At some point, I’ll definitely be part of the program,” he said. “I’m not sure what capacity yet and I’m not sure when, but this is my country and this is my program. I spent 13 years as part of it, and I’d like to be a bigger part of it, in a bigger role at some point, when the time is right … not just so that we can make Olympic Games, but so we can get kids playing the sport and learning and growing and participating and improving their lifestyle.”

Canada’s national team faces the same challenge Team USA did a few years back — it’s hard to get the big stars to come out and play. (The USA just has a deeper talent pool to draw from.)

What changed it? America’s biggest stars — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and others — agreed not only to play but to play in the qualifying, the World Championships and the Olympics (credit Jerry Colangelo for convincing them) . America’s best players came out and played, they didn’t just cheer from the sidelines. That changed the dynamic.

Canada and Nash can take whatever lessons from that they wish.

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