Steve Nash has twice grasped the trophy for the highest individual NBA achievement, but the two-time MVP has not been able to lift his Suns to the peak of team glory, and he has only two games left this season to give them another shot.
The 38-year-old point guard has spent a lockout-shortened season in perpetual motion, dishing precision passes to a hungry group of largely unsung Suns. With his crystal-clear court vision, he finds spaces for those assists at every nook and cranny of the floor.
Nevertheless, Nash and the Suns will not see the playoffs if they lose to the Jazz tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
The Suns can control their own playoff destiny, though, if they defeat both the Jazz and the Spurs in succession. If they beat the Jazz and then lose to the Spurs, the Suns' playoff lives will rest on Portland, who would have to knock off the Jazz in the final game of the season.
It is unlikely at this late stage in his storied career that Nash would have any qualms about backing into the playoffs, and it is clear he will not back down during this final push.
Nash is the kind of feisty player who has earned his scrappy reputation not for dishing out punishment to foes, but for taking all kinds of wallops and bouncing back undeterred, even when noticeably hampered.
Indeed, Nash has run into some sizable bumps in his previous heroic efforts to lead a Sun charge to an NBA championship.
If you are even a peripheral fan of the NBA, tune in tonight. If the Suns beat the Jazz, make the following Suns vs. Spurs or Jazz vs. Blazers matchup a must-see in your television viewing.
Nash is playing at an age when athletes are expected to decline. This, then, is a rare opportunity to watch one of the classiest, guttiest players in the sport make a late attempt at a title.