First and foremost, an MVP is a leader.
There are many different ways in which one can be a leader. Some leaders are more emotional than others, others are more maintained than some, but there are universal traits which are apparent in every true leader, the first of which is accountability.
True leaders hold their teams accountable for their play, not make excuses for extenuating circumstances outside of it.
Unfortunately, Steve Nash didn’t get the memo.
After being routed by Los Angeles yesterday night, Nash said in his post game interview “We were a tired team. We missed a lot of easy shots that we normally knock down. It's been a tough stretch for us and I'm glad it's over.”
I suppose you are tired, Steve. When your team’s focus is centered on scoring 110 points every night, how can you not be? I won’t bother doing the research, but I’d just about bet my left leg that during the span of the last two years, the Lakers are undefeated when scoring over 120 points.
But you’d rather focus on your team’s early-season exhaustion wouldn’t you, Steve? Who needs commitment to the defensive end of the court when you can drop 100+ on just about every team in the NBA, right? Who says that that defensive commitment stuff is necessary anyway?
….Well, only the last 63 NBA Champions, but what do they know?
This isn’t the first time Steve has made excuses on the behalf of his team. After signing an extension with the Suns earlier in the summer, an event we’ll come back to in a moment, Steve Nash complained in an interview that “No one gave (the Suns) Pau Gasol for nothing.”
Well that’s great Steve, but what have you done to force Phoenix’s front office to make moves for the team’s betterment? Sure you guys brought in Shaq in 2007, but that wasn’t a move that you prompted, nor was it a move that made your team any better.
Do you remember what Paul Pierce did in the 2007 off-season? He walked up to Boston’s management, informed them he was tired of the team’s losing ways and essentially told them to make a move or watch him walk when his contract expired.
Do you know what Dwayne Wade has done? He’s essentially put the team’s management over a barrel by putting the team on his back and not re-signing, therefore increasing his market value for his upcoming offseason as a free agent.
Do you know why the Lakers got Pau Gasol for nothing, Steve? Kobe was going to walk. He actually demanded a trade because of the lack of quality players around him. He put his hopes, his dreams, and his thirst for a Championship above his loyalty to his employers and guess what? It paid off.
Women aren’t the only area where nice guys finish last.
Therein lies Steve’s problem in a nutshell: he’s just too nice. Why do you think the NBA gave him the MVP award back in 2005 and again in 2006?
Simple: the NBA wanted a makeover. Embarrassed by the growing hip-hop culture of the league, the NBA wanted to move towards a more “family friendly” image and Steve was simply a beneficiary of that.
Ask yourself why the NBA instituted their dress-code policy in that same time frame.
Then ask yourself why Steve Nash is the only two-consecutive-time MVP in the league’s history without a Championship ring, only two-time MVP without multiple Finals appearances and the only MVP of the last decade that hasn’t led his team to a single Conference Championship title.
Steve is talented, sure. Maybe not as much as a Kobe, LeBron or Tim Duncan, but that’s not the only reason he doesn’t belong in their ranks.
In earlier generations of the NBA, elite teams and players saw defense as a testament to their own manhood. Talent was only half the battle. Sure the league has gotten less physical since those days, but those principles remain.
Nash will never be a true MVP because to be an MVP, or for that matter a Champion, you need a firm pair of balls and I don’t mean Spalding.