From Canada, a hardcourt role model

NATIONAL POST

In an era in which basketball is increasingly about the individual — witness the basketball world’s obsession with phenom LeBron James, or the exploits of Kobe Bryant — Steve Nash is a rare reminder of the value of teamwork.

That Steve Nash has taken home his second consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player award is a matter of considerable national pride, as well it should be. Not only is Mr. Nash one of the best basketball players in the world and one of the greatest athletes this country has produced — he is also a perfect ambassador for our country, recognized as one of the sports world’s true class acts and renowned for his selfless commitment to charities.

But it is not just Canadians who should find joy in Mr. Nash’s success; it’s all basketball fans.

In an era in which basketball is increasingly about the individual — witness the basketball world’s obsession with phenom LeBron James, or the exploits of Kobe Bryant — Mr. Nash is a rare reminder of the value of teamwork. He is not, like most of the NBA’s stars, a behemoth whose physical exploits dazzle fans. He is instead a playmaker — playing the point guard position to perfection by applying both his considerable basketball smarts and a completely selfless attitude. In racking up a league-leading 10.4 assists per game this season, Mr. Nash did what he’s famed for — making those around him look better.

It is particularly fitting that Mr. Nash not only beat out Mr. Bryant for the MVP award, but recently led the Suns to a first-round comeback triumph over Mr. Bryant’s Lakers, since the two men are the antithesis of each other. Mr. Bryant is more physically talented, and his personal statistics (including an average of 35.4 points per game) more impressive. But his selfishness means he has hurt his team more than he’s helped it — first driving away fellow star Shaquille O’Neal so that he alone could enjoy the spotlight, then compensating for a diminished roster by adopting a style of play in which nobody else has a chance to shine.

Mr. Bryant’s style of play might land him on more highlight reels and sell more jerseys. But it is Mr. Nash who is a role model for how sports should be played.

Visit the Steve Nash Foundation here.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The editors, "From Canada, a hardcourt role model." National Post, (Canada) May 9, 2006.

Reprinted with permission of the National Post.

Copyright © 2006 National Post


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