He broke the news via Twitter on Saturday with an article from The Players' Tribune:
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:
The Lakers passed along Nash's comments on what he considers to be the biggest letdown of his career:
He also talked about how he wants people to remember him, per Michael Lee Washington Post:
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:
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:
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 James' Cleveland 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:
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:
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.