Best Class Act in Local Sports - 2008
Suns point guard Steve Nash
What can we say about Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash, except that he's like a really fine wine: aged to perfection. Last year, it looked as if he'd slowed down a little, but that was because his dunderheaded former coach played him as if he were a 24-year-old. That's just not any way to treat a fine Cabernet. He needed to start the game, naturally, but be given more than just a few minutes at the end of the first and third quarters and the beginning of the second and fourth. Jeez, the geezer (for an NBA point guard) averaged 36.6 minutes a game. Only the much younger Amaré Stoudemire and the tough-as-nails Raja Bell averaged more.
But would Little Stevie complain about now-departed coach Mike D'Antoni's riding him like a favorite whore? No way! You never heard the cool-as-the-other-side-of-the-pillow Canadian whimper a note. Even when his ailing back was obviously killing him. Hey, we're not saying Nash isn't in great shape — for a player who will be 35 next season. Running 20 miles a game in the NBA is hard work for anybody. But no matter how hard he worked during a game, no matter how disappointed he was after a loss, Nash always stopped to talk with the media, sign a kid's program, or pose for pictures for his favorite charities.
Indeed, Nash gives himself extensively to good causes. The Steve Nash Foundation offers grants to programs helping poor, neglected, ill, or abused children. He is the sponsor of the Steve Nash Youth Basketball League in British Columbia, is involved with GuluWalk, which helps children in war-torn Uganda. And, with Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, was among NBA players who played a game in China against the country's national team that raised millions of dollars for Chinese children. Heck, he even financed a new pediatric oncology ward at a hospital in Paraguay, his wife's home country. Like we say, the man's a class act.