Steve Nash Retires: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2015

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Steve Nash has called it quits after an illustrious 18-year career in the NBA in which he made stops with the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers.

He broke the news via Twitter on Saturday with an article from The Players' Tribune

Steve Nash @SteveNash

I'm retiring from basketball. Thanks for all the love through the years. http://t.co/CMqDBSYIrr http://t.co/iNTG6eap4D

Nash reflected on his career in the thoughtful introspection: 

The greatest gift has been to be completely immersed in my passion and striving for something I loved so much — visualizing a ladder, climbing up to my heroes. The obsession became my best friend. I talked to her, cherished her, fought with her and got knocked on my ass by her.

And that is what I’m most thankful for in my career. In my entire life, in some ways. Obviously, I value my kids and my family more than the game, but in some ways having this friend — this ever-present pursuit — has made me who I am, taught me and tested me, and given me a mission that feels irreplaceable. I am so thankful. I’ve learned so many invaluable lessons about myself and about life. And of course I still have so much to learn. Another incredible gift.

In a press conference on March 24, Nash reflected on his time with the Lakers, per Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times: 

Eric Pincus @EricPincus

Lakers run a failure? "For sure. I came here with huge hopes and dreams" "A huge disappointment" "Never wanted something more" #nashretires

The Lakers passed along Nash's comments on what he considers to be the biggest letdown of his career:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Nash: "It was a lot of disappointment not to win a championship in my career. At the same time, I definitely left it all out there."

He also talked about how he wants people to remember him, per Michael Lee Washington Post:

Michael Lee @MrMichaelLee

Steve Nash: "I simply want people to remember me as a competitor & a great teammate...Those are the two most important things."

Nash's retirement comes as little surprise after Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding reported the veteran point guard would miss the entirety of the 2014-15 season as a result of nerve damage in his back. Both the team and Nash released statements after the news broke:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Full press release on Nash including quotes from him and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. http://t.co/FsuMq1JWis

Although Nash's pursuit of an NBA title in Los Angeles ended in failure, he'll undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most dynamic point guards of his generation. ESPN.com's Kevin Pelton highlighted the offensive impact Nash had on his teams in his prime:

Kevin Pelton @kpelton

By my definition, Steve Nash teams led the NBA in offensive rating every season from 2001-02 through 2009-10. http://t.co/AqPUrtVRrw

He retires having amassed the third-most assists (10,335) in NBA history. Many fans also forget how good of a shooter Nash was. His 42.8 three-point percentage is the ninth highest ever, and he ranks first in free-throw percentage (90.4) as well.    

Nash had a lot of success in Dallas in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but it wasn't until his second stint with the Suns that his career took off. He won back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and was named to the All-NBA First Team three years in a row between 2005 and 2007.

Given his accomplishments, it shouldn't come as a shock that the Cavaliers reportedly were interested in his services, according to ESPN's Marc Stein:

Nash can console himself with the knowledge that at least one pretty good basketball team still covets his services. League sources told ESPN.com earlier this month that LeBron JamesCleveland Cavaliers -- who happen to have two of the biggest Nash admirers on Earth in their front office, in David Griffin and former teammate Raja Bell -- let it be known to longtime Nash agent Bill Duffy that they would love to give the old man a whirl as a short-minute backup to Kyrie Irving if Nash wanted to seek a buyout after the trade deadline from whoever had him at that point.

No chance, though.

He only wanted to come back -- and go out -- as a Laker.

Of course, there will be one glaring absence in his overall legacy.

By exiting the league now, Nash officially enters the rarefied air reserved for elite players never to win a ring. According to ESPN Stats & Info, only six players—two of whom are still active—have won an NBA MVP but failed to win an NBA title:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Steve Nash is 1 of 6 players in NBA history to win an NBA MVP and never win an NBA title. http://t.co/ruskGw1wWX

According to ESPN.com's Adam Reisinger, Nash is the only retired MVP to have never played in an NBA Finals game:

Nash reached the Western Conference Finals on four different occasions, once with the Mavericks in 2003 and then in consecutive years with Phoenix in 2005 and 2006 before one last appearance in 2010.

Those Suns teams were a lot of fun to watch, not to mention wildly successful. Many Suns fans still probably argue that if Amar'e Stoudemire hadn't been suspended for Game 5 against the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the 2007 playoffs, Phoenix would have won a title.

Grantland's Zach Lowe saluted the influence the Suns had on the league in the years following their dazzling run:

Zach Lowe @ZachLowe_NBA

The Steve Nash Suns changed the NBA forever. I will miss watching him play basketball.

You can't imagine a better player/coach pairing than Nash and Mike D'Antoni. Their respective styles complemented each other so well, and it's no surprise that neither has had as much success since D'Antoni departed Phoenix in 2008.

It's somewhat unfortunate that the career of such a talented, exciting player has reached this anticlimactic end, but that's usually the way it goes for any aging star. Father Time catches up with even the best sooner or later.

Nash can now look back on his decorated career with gusto, and if he has any desire to stay involved with the sport, there's no doubt he has the experience and knowledge to be a success on the sidelines, in the announcer's booth or upstairs in a managerial capacity.

Note: All stats were courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.


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