How he went from playing in Victoria to coaching the Brooklyn Nets
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
Last September, Canadian basketball legend Steve Nash was hired to coach the highly skilled Brooklyn Nets. This, in addition to many other significant accomplishments, undeniably establishes Nash as one of the most accomplished figures the basketball world has ever seen.
However, Nash’s road to joining the elite was not smooth by any stretch of the matter. Whether it was desperately trying to be recruited to a division-one institution or dealing with the hostile criticism from fans and the media, Nash’s story is far from perfect.
Nash grew up in Victoria, British Columbia where he enjoyed playing a variety of different sports including soccer, hockey, lacrosse, and rugby. And believe it or not, he did not start playing basketball in an organized league until the eighth grade.
Nash then fell in love with the game and declared to his mother that he would one day be able to play in the NBA, an unrealistic goal considering how underexposed Canada’s basketball market is. However, as many would come to find out, persistence is a recurring theme in Nash’s story.
He went on to play for St. Michaels University School where his work ethic and talented ability made him one of the top players not only for his team, but for the entire country. In his senior year, he almost averaged a triple double with 21.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 11.2 assists.
In his senior year, he almost averaged a triple double with 21.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 11.2 assists.
Unfortunately, Nash did not receive the kind of attention from many NCAA division one schools as other high school players in the United States due to Canada not being a common place for scouts to find new talent.
“The recruiting option of Canadians going to the states was a lot different than it is now. It was just nothing but no, no, no, no. He’s got a shoebox full of […] rejection letters,” said Nash’s High School coach Ian Hyde-Lay in a Sportsnet Documentary. “I just kept saying all you need is one that says yes,” he said.
His coach ended up being spot on, as Santa Clara University was the only division-one school that got back to Nash and ended up recruiting him.
At Santa Clara, Nash helped lead the team to a spot in the NCAA tournament when he was just a freshman. He later went on to be awarded All-Western Coast Conference (WCC) honors three times and won back-to-back WCC player of the year awards in the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.
“He took Santa Clara to heights it hadn’t seen in a long time, and it hasn’t seen since,” said NBA writer Marc Spears.
This time around, his accomplishments were recognized on the national level, and in the 1996 NBA draft, the Phoenix Suns selected him with the 15th pick in the first round.
“What Steve was always capable of doing was displaying his brilliance for the game, his intelligence about the game, and his IQ is really what kind of stood out. It was just a great opportunity to see this great draft prospect,” said former general manager of the Suns Bryan Colangelo.
His NBA career then told the rest of the story as Nash then went on to win two-time NBA MVP awards, appear in eight-all star games, lead the NBA in assists for five different seasons, and led many of his teams to winning records and deep runs in the NBA playoffs before retiring in 2015.
Nash’s involvement with the NBA continued after his retirement, as he was hired as a part-time consultant for the Golden State Warriors where he helped the team win an NBA record 73 games in the 2015 to 2016 regular season, and win back-to-back championship in 2017 and 2018.
Fast forward to September 3 of this year, and Nash was hired as head coach for the Brooklyn Nets—one of the most anticipated teams in the NBA. It will be interesting to see whether he will be able to help lead to the franchise to its first NBA championship.
Some are confident, some are doubtful, but considering how persistent Nash has been throughout his career, we know for sure that he will stop at nothing to do best job he can.