Steve Nash retired at the weekend, and the NBA said goodbye to a man among those most responsible for its current stylistic revolution.
When Hall of Fame debates come up, sometimes a player’s significance – his uniqueness and his contributions to the sport – weighs into his argument.
Nash will not need that angle, but he certainly has it.
He won two MVP awards and made eight All-Star teams.
He also twice led the Phoenix Suns, who paved the way for much of what we are seeing in the game today, to the Western Conference finals.
If modern offences invite comparisons to tiki-taka football, know that Steve Nash was the NBA’s Lionel Messi, the man at the forefront.
His influence – the flair and creativity and the downright giddy three-point shooting – can be seen now in modern point guards such as Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry and John Wall.
When ESPN The Magazine’s Sam Alipour in December 2013 asked Curry who, in particular, influenced him, the answer was easy for Curry: “I’d say Steve Nash.
“I mostly modelled my game after him ... the way he shoots the ball and his creativity with passing, using both hands, that inspired me to play the way I do right now.”
If you enjoy the brand of basketball embodied by Curry – a fast, mobile style that most of the league may soon embrace – in no small part you have Steve Nash to thank.
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