The greatest player to ever lace up sneakers on a Vancouver Island basketball court will be enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame later this year.
Victoria’s own Steve Nash played all of his high school ball in the provincial capital, before accepting his only D-1 scholarship offer to Santa Clara University in California. There, he helped the Broncos to the NCAA tournament on three separate occasions, before being chosen 15th overall in the 1996 NBA draft.
After a career that spanned nearly 20 years and two MVP awards, Nash retired in 2015.
But how well do you know Steve Nash? Here are five things you may not have known:
Nash was not born in Canada
Steve Nash was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. His family moved to Saskatchewan when he was 18 months old, before setting in Victoria, B.C. Nash is still the only NBA player to have been born in South Africa.
How did he do in school?
Nash spent four years at Santa Clara University and graduated with a degree in Sociology. In fact, he was a top student in many of his classes.
Did he ever win an NBA championship?
Technically no, not as a player. His ‘seven seconds or less’ Phoenix Suns’ teams came painfully close a number of times, but ultimately came up against strong competition during their reign as one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
But he did win a ring with the Golden State Warriors in 2017, after he had been brought in the previous year as a part-time consultant.
He was very outspoken for a pro athlete
From his lean body to his shaggy hair, Nash didn’t look like a prototypical athlete, and he didn’t act like one either. While many NBA players defer on topics outside of sports, Nash embraced his opportunity. Whether it was questioning the Iraq War or Arizona’s immigration policy, he gave honest answers – and even showed up to the 2003 All-Star game with a T-shirt that read, “No war. Shoot for peace.”
Nash became a part of history
Not only did Steve Nash become the first Canadian basketball player to win an MVP trophy in the NBA, he was only the second point guard to win the award multiple times and is one of only 10 players to win the award in back-to-back seasons. Nash also led the league in assists five times, and become just the fourth player in NBA history to finish a season shooting 50 per cent or better from the field, 40 per cent or better from three-point range and 90 per cent from the line.