One of the NBA’s greatest facilitators is calling it a career.
Steve Nash, who hasn’t played this season because of back issues, announced Saturday on The Players’ Tribune that he’s retiring at age 41. The prolific point guard finishes his 18-year NBA career third in league history with 10,335 assists, behind only John Stockton (15,806) and Jason Kidd (12,091).
“The greatest gift has been to be completely immersed in my passion and striving for something I loved so much — visualizing a ladder, climbing up to my heroes,” wrote Nash, who won two NBA MVP awards. “The obsession became my best friend. I talked to her, cherished her, fought with her and got knocked on my ass by her. And that is what I’m most thankful for in my career. In my entire life, in some ways.”
Nash thanked many people, including current Boston Celtics executive Danny Ainge, who coached the point guard with the Phoenix Suns. Wrote Nash: “When I dribbled by our bench as a rookie on the Suns, Danny Ainge would say, ‘Take him!’ with intensity and contempt in his voice. That was a huge vote of confidence for a rookie.”
Nash was more than a passer, though. He’s the NBA’s all-time leader in free-throw percentage at .904, ranks ninth all time in 3-point shooting percentage at .428 and is 81st in league history with 17,387 points.
While Nash had longevity, stats and accolades, he never won a league championship with the Suns, Dallas Mavericks or Los Angeles Lakers. Nash wrote that he joined the Lakers in 2012 “because I wanted to be in the ‘fire,’ and play for high risk and high reward in my last NBA chapter,” but he never was the same after breaking his leg in his second game with the team.
Despite the lack of rings, Nash is a sure-fire Basketball Hall of Famer. Very few point guards were more exciting and more unselfish in this era of ball hogs and one-on-one basketball.
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