After 19 NBA seasons, point god Steve Nash announced his retirement from the game earlier today. The two-time league MVP made his decision public via The Players Tribune, penning a letter that pretty much outlines why he chose to walk away from the game for good.
Injuries caused the legendary point guard to miss most of his tumultous three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, and everyone knew that Nash's basketball career was on borrowed time. Still, his announcement came as a surprise to the whole basketball community:
Congrats @SteveNash on an amazing career. It was a pleasure to compete against you so many times. Enjoy!— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) March 21, 2015
— Boris Diaw (@theborisdiaw) March 21, 2015Continue reading below ↓
S/o to @SteveNash hanging it up for good! Inspired me to play the way I do and paved the way. Congrats on all your success and enjoy life!— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) March 21, 2015
Congrats @SteveNash for all you've done for the game of bball..It was worth fighting to resume my career to have the chance to play with you— grant hill (@realgranthill33) March 21, 2015
Nash started his pro career as the 15th overall pick of the Phoenix Suns in the 1996 NBA Draft, playing back-up to then more established playmakers like Jason Kidd and Sam Cassell.
He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 1998, where he teamed-up with the Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley. He returned to Phoenix in 2004, joining the franchise's young and athletic core of Shawn Marion and Amar'e Stoudemire. Nash led head coach Mike 'D Antoni's fast-paced "Seven Seconds Or Less" offense, confounding defenses for years.
The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Nash via sign-and-trade in 2012, forming (on paper) one of the most fearsome starting units in NBA history. (We all know what injuries and clashing egos did to this one.)
Video via Steve Nash's YouTube channel
The Canadian ends his career with averages of 14.3 points and 8.5 assists per game. Aside from being one out of only ten players to have won the NBA's MVP trophy back-to-back (2005 and 2006), Nash was also an eight-time All-Star. He owns the third-most assists in NBA history (10,335) and the 9th best three-point percentage (42.9).
He also says goodbye as the NBA's best-ever free throw shooter, with a 90.4 percent shooting clip.
Unfortunately, one stat eluded him for almost two decades: an NBA championship. But, like Charles Barkley, John Stockton and Karl Malone, and countless other superstars before him, Nash's career will be talked about not for his hardware but for the excitement he brought to the court every night. The people who saw him play will remember him as a total trickster with the ball, creating magic with his ridiculous dimes to his teammates while also being a legitimate threat on the perimeter.
Image via citynews.ca
So while we count the days before we get to see him be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, let's relive the highlights of The Steve Nash Magic Show, by looking back at the best assists of his celebrated career!
Steve might have the most nutmeg assists (pass through someone's balls) in NBA history. ESPN guys, Skeets and the rest of The Starters, even dudes from Shaqtin' A Fool, can one of you have this checked out?
Even a simple hand-off pass transforms into a thing of beauty if Steve's the one dropping it.
Next to Stockton to Malone, the Nash-Amar'e combo was one of basketball's greatest tandems.
Steve ruined many basketball theories and playbooks with this pick and no-look pass.
In his prime, defenders had to settle for Nash raining down jumper than letting him find someone who will dunk on their heads.
Normal ballers tend to just secure the ball when they fumble their dribble. Steve is not normal.
How do you get baskets in "Seven Seconds Or Less"? Get a floor general who can analyze the floor in a second.
Here's one of the many clips that prove that Nash have eyes at the back of his head... And maybe even on his cheeks, elbows, maybe everywhere!
And another one!
For more of Steve's basketball wizardry, check out the video below for more than an hour of Nash's basketball highlights!