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Steve Nash looks on in his Lakers home jersey

Steve

Stephen John "Steve" Nash, OC, OBC (born 7 February 1974) is a South African-born Canadian professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). After a successful high-school basketball career in British Columbia, he earned a scholarship to Santa Clara University in California. In his four seasons with the Broncos, the team made three NCAA Tournament appearances, and Nash was twice named the West Coas Conference (WCC) Player of the Year.

Nash graduated from Santa Clara as the team's all-time leader in assists, and was taken as the 15th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. He made a minimal impact and was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 1998. By his third season with the Mavericks, he was voted into his first NBA All-Star Game and had earned his first All-NBA selection. Together with Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley, Nash led the Mavericks to the Western Conference Finals the following season. However, he became a free agent after the 2003–04 season and returned to the Phoenix Suns.

In the 2004–05 season, Nash led the Suns to the Western Conference Finals, and was named the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP). He was named MVP again in the 2005–06 season, and missed out on a third consecutive MVP title to Nowitzki in 2006–07. Named by ESPN in 2006 as the ninth greatest point guard of all time, Nash has led the league in assists and free-throw percentage at various points in his career. He is also ranked as one of the top players in NBA league history for three-point shooting, free-throw shooting, total assists and assists per game.

Nash has been honoured for his contributions to various philanthropic causes. In 2006, he was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He also received the Order of Canada in 2007, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Victoria in 2008.

Early life

Nash was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to a Welsh mother and an English father on 7 February 1974. His family moved to Regina, Saskatchewan, when he was 18 months old, before settling in Victoria, British Columbia.[5] Although Nash played soccer and ice hockey, often with his younger brother, Martin, he did not start playing basketball until he was 12 or 13  In eighth grade, however, he told his mother that one day he would play in the NBA and would become a star.

High school

Nash originally attended Mount Douglas Secondary School in Saanich, British Columbia, but after his grades began to drop, his parents decided to enroll him at St. Michaels University School, a private boarding school in Victoria. At St. Michaels, he starred in basketball, soccer, and rugby union. While playing basketball during his senior season, Nash averaged 21.3 points, 11.2 assists, and 9.1 rebounds per game. In the 1991–92 season, he led his team in his final year to the British Columbia AAA provincial championship title, and was named the province's Player of the Year.[9]

College career

Although Nash's high school coach, Ian Hyde-Lay, sent letters of inquiry and highlight reels on Nash's behalf to over 30 American universities, Nash was not recruited by any university, until Santa Clara coach Dick Davey requested video footage of the young guard. After watching Nash in person, Davey said he "was nervous as hell just hoping that no one else would see him. It didn't take a Nobel Prize winner to figure out this guy's pretty good. It was just a case of hoping that none of the big names came around." However, Davey also told Nash that he was "the worst defensive player" he had ever seen.[7]

Nash was awarded a scholarship by Santa Clara for the 1992–93 season. At that time, it had been five years since the Broncos appeared in the NCAA tournament. That changed when Nash led the Broncos to a WCC Tournament title and an upset win over the No. 2 seeded Arizona in the first round of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. In that game, Nash scored six straight free throws in the last 30 seconds of the contest. Although Santa Clara was defeated by Temple in the next round, the 1992–93 campaign was considered a successful one. However, the Broncos failed to sustain the momentum the following season, and only managed a 5–7 record in the conference. The team rebounded in the 1994–95 season, with Nash being named Conference Player of the Year and the Broncos topping the WCC. Featuring the league leader for scoring and assists in Nash, the Broncos returned to the NCAA tournament, but they were defeated by Mississippi State. After the season, Nash contemplated turning professional, and decided against it when he learned that he would probably not be considered as a first-round pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. My heroes were Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson. I think they were just so competitive and creative. Especially Isiah, he was somebody that wasn't very tall. He had played the game mostly on the floor and it made me feel that I could find a way to do the same. Steve Nash In the 1995–96 season, Nash began attracting the attention of the national media and professional scouts. He had spent the summer before that honing his skills, playing with the Canadian national team and working out with the likes of established NBA players Jason Kidd and Gary Payton. Santa Clara again captured the WCC title, and for the second consecutive year, Nash was named Conference Player of the Year, the first Bronco to do so since Kurt Rambis. He scored 28 points in leading the No. 10 seed Broncos to a first round upset win over No. 7 seed Maryland, but then the Broncos were eliminated by Kansas. Nash's performances ensured that he was named Honorable Mention All-America as a senior by The Associated Press and the USBWA. He also finished his career as Santa Clara's all-time leader in career assists (510), free-throw percentage (.862), and made and attempted three-pointers (263–656). He remains third on the school's all-time scoring list (1,689), and holds Santa Clara's single-season free-throw percentage record (.894). In September 2006, Nash had his jersey (#11) retired, becoming the first Santa Clara student-athlete to receive that honor.

NCAA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game Bold Career high
Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1992–93 Santa Clara 31 ... 24.0 .424 .408 .825 2.5 2.2 .8 .1 8.1
1993–94 Santa Clara 26 ... 29.9 .414 .399 .831 2.5 3.7 1.3 .0 14.6
1994–95 Santa Clara 27 ... 33.4 .444 .454 .879 3.8 6.4 1.8 .1 20.9
1995–96 Santa Clara 29 ... 33.8 .430 .344 .894 3.6 6.0 1.3 .0 17.0
Career[11] 113 ... 30.1 .430 .401 .867 3.1 4.5 1.3 .1 14.9

 NBA career

Los Angeles Lakers (2012–present)

On 11 July 2012, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Nash in a sign-and-trade deal with Phoenix. Nash also considered signing with New York or Toronto, but he decided that Los Angeles was the best fit for him and his family. Nash switched his jersey number, as his customary No. 13 was retired by Los Angeles in honor of Wilt Chamberlain. Nash, an avid soccer fan, chose No. 10 to pay homage to Glenn Hoddle, Zinedine Zidane and other soccer playmakers who wore the number. Entering his 17th NBA season, Nash came to the Lakers with concerns over his defense and the health of his back.

In the second game of the 2012–13 season, Nash suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left leg after a collision with Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. He was expected to miss at least one week, but was out of the lineup for close to seven weeks. He was reunited with D'Antoni, who took over as Lakers coach after Mike Brown was fired after a 1–4 start. On 22 December, Nash returned against the Golden State Warriors, helping the Lakers win their first overtime game of the season, 118–115, scoring 12 points with 9 assists in 41 minutes of play. The Lakers won three of the first four games after Nash returned. However, they lost their next four, including a 125–112 loss to Houston on 8 January 2013, when Nash assisted on an Antawn Jamison jumper to became the fifth player in NBA history to reach 10,000 career assists.[53]

Kobe Bryant was moved to defend the opponent's primary ball handler, freeing Nash from unfavorable matchups. Nash also struggled with Dwight Howard to run the pick and roll, a play that D'Antoni had expected would be a staple for the Lakers. D'Antoni moved Nash off the ball and made him more of a spot-up shooter, while Bryant became the primary facilitator on offense. Nash missed the last eight games of the season with a right hip injury that also caused nerve damage in his right hamstring. The team qualified for the playoffs as the seventh seed, but were swept 4–0 by San Antonio in the first round. Nash missed the last two games of the series after recurring issues with his hip and hamstring. In what he called arguably "the most frustrating" season of his career, Nash missed a career-high 32 games in the regular season, and averaged his fewest assists (6.7) since 1999–2000, when he was a part-time starter with Dallas.

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throws percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
Led the league

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1996–97 Phoenix 65 2 10.5 .423 .418 .824 1.0 2.1 .3 .0 3.3
1997–98 Phoenix 76 9 21.9 .459 .415 .860 2.1 3.4 .8 .1 9.1
1998–99 Dallas 40 40 31.7 .363 .374 .826 2.9 5.5 .9 .1 7.9
1999–00 Dallas 56 27 27.4 .477 .403 .882 2.2 4.9 .7 .1 8.6
2000–01 Dallas 70 70 34.1 .487 .406 .895 3.2 7.3 '1.0' .1 15.6
2001–02 Dallas '82' '82' 34.6 .483 .455 .887 3.1 7.7 .6 .0 17.9
2002–03 Dallas '82' '82' 33.1 .465 .413 .909 2.9 7.3 '1.0' .1 17.7
2003–04 Dallas 78 78 33.5 .470 .405 .916 3.0 8.8 .9 .1 14.5
2004–05 Phoenix 75 75 34.3 .502 .431 .887 3.3 11.5 '1.0' .1 15.5
2005–06 Phoenix 79 79 '35.4' .512 .439 .921 '4.2' 10.5 .8 '.2' '18.8'
2006–07 Phoenix 76 76 35.3 '.532' .455 .899 3.5 '11.6' .8 .1 18.6
2007–08 Phoenix 81 81 34.3 .504 '.470' .906 3.5 11.1 .7 .1 16.9
2008–09 Phoenix 74 74 33.6 .503 .439 .933 3.0 9.7 .7 .1 15.7
2009–10 Phoenix 81 81 32.8 .507 .426 '.938' 3.3 11.0 .5 .1 16.5
2010–11 Phoenix 75 75 33.3 .492 .395 .912 3.5 11.4 .6 .1 14.7
2011–12 Phoenix 62 62 31.6 '.532' .390 .894 3.0 10.7 .6 .1 12.5
2012–13 LA Lakers 50 50 32.5 .497 .438 .922 2.8 6.7 .6 .1 12.7
Career 1202 1043 31.4 .491 .428 .904 3.0 8.5 .7 .1 14.4
All-Star 7 2 15.9 .429 .250 .000 2.0 6.7 .4 .1 3.7

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1997 Phoenix 4 0 3.8 .222 .250 .000 .3 .3 .3 '.3' 1.3
1998 Phoenix 4 1 12.8 .444 .200 .625 2.5 1.8 .5 .0 5.5
2001 Dallas 10 10 37.0 .417 .410 .882 3.2 6.4 .6 .1 13.6
2002 Dallas 8 8 40.4 .432 .444 .971 4.0 8.8 .5 .0 19.5
2003 Dallas '20' '20' 36.5 .447 '.487' .873 3.5 7.3 '.9' .1 16.1
2004 Dallas 5 5 39.4 .386 .375 .889 '5.2' 9.0 .8 .0 13.6
2005 Phoenix 15 15 '40.7' '.520' .389 .919 4.8 11.3 '.9' .2 '23.9'
2006 Phoenix '20' '20' 39.9 .502 .368 .912 3.7 10.2 .4 '.3' 20.4
2007 Phoenix 11 11 37.5 .463 '.487' .891 3.2 '13.3' .4 .1 18.9
2008 Phoenix 5 5 36.6 .457 .300 .917 2.8 7.8 .4 .2 16.2
2010 Phoenix 16 16 33.7 .518 .380 .893 3.3 10.1 .3 .1 17.8
2013 L.A. Lakers 2 2 30.5 .435 .000 '1.000' 2.5 4.5 .0 .0 12.5
Career 120 113 35.7 .473 .406 .900 3.5 8.8 .6 .1 17.3

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