Steve Nash is a two-time NBA MVP, consultant with the Golden State Warriors, father of three (with a fourth on the way) and all-around good guy. We caught up with Nash, 43, to discuss his contributions to the Allstate NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) Good Works Team, the Special Olympics of Arizona and, of course, basketball.
Talk about the Allstate NABC Good Works Team and specifically your work the Special Olympics of Arizona. What does that mean to you?
This is extremely exciting for me. Not only to go back to Arizona, but to do it with Allstate and their NABC Good Works Team. They’ve identified 10 college basketball players who have had an incredible impact on their communities, through sheer will and volunteering their time to make a difference. Not only is it great for me to meet these guys, but to have an impact on the Special Olympics community in Arizona and hopefully inspire another generation of kids to realize their own power and abilities to affect others.
Beside working with Allstate, what is a typical day in the life of Steve Nash these days?
Good question. I’m pretty busy being dad. I have three kids, and a fourth on the way.
Thank you. Getting them off to school and picking them up from school and activities, just being an Uber driver, basically. I also have time to work when they’re in school and I’m enjoying that, as well.
You’re working with the Golden State Warriors, on a part-time basis?
Yeah. I’m a player consultant, development consultant with the Warriors, which has been really fun and rewarding. But I also have a content creation company, and I have a little bit of ownership stake in two professional soccer teams, in New York and Vancouver.
A couple of years ago, you were quoted as saying that Steph Curry is the “greatest shooter ever.” After working with the Warriors, do you still believe that?
I do. I think he is off the charts, not just his ability as a shooter, but his dexteriety and his ability to shoot in different ways, and from different ranges. It’s like nothing we’ve seen in our league. The accuracy, and where he’s able to make shots at, it’s phenomenal. I stand behind those comments.
Guys you played against, like Steve Kerr and Jason Kidd, are NBA head coaches. Do you have any interest in becoming an NBA head coach?
Not at this time. I really love being a dad and being home, being at all their activities. That’s invaluable. I’ve worked extremely hard to put myself in a position where I can do that and I’m not ready to give that up. Maybe in the future, I’ll feel differently and being a GM or a coach will be exciting for me. But at this point, I’m really enjoying experiencing my kids’ growth and trying to have an impact on them becoming the best versions of themselves that they can be.
You won back-to-back NBA MVP awards in 2005 and 2006. This year’s MVP race is as hotly contested as we’ve seen in recent memory. Who deserves the award this year?
That’s an impossible question. It’s such a subjective thing. I really think it says more about our own individual preferences and biases than it does about the players. The two main candidates (Russell Westbrook and James Harden) are playing out of this world. But Kawhi Leonard is a deserving MVP, as well. And Steph Curry, when you look at the end of the year and he’s having an MVP season — and (Kevin) Durant, as well, if he didn’t get hurt. You could say the same for LeBron (James). One of them is not going to deserve to lose. I couldn’t even being to guess a winner, it would say more about my personal biases and preferences. And that wouldn’t be fair.
Do you still keep in touch with Dirk Nowitzki?
We do. We’re both busy, so it’s mainly through text message. But he’s an important person to me, and a friend for life. The success he’s had lately and over the last year or so, as he continues to reach milestones. It’s been a lot of fun for me, from the recliner, so to speak.
On the opposite end of the career spectrum, UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball has been compared to you and Jason Kidd, among others. What are your thoughts?
Great young talent. He’s a pure point guard, which is a little bit out of style but is always needed. He’s got a great feel for the game, with the ability to make his teammates better. I think he’s going to have a great career, and he’s going to get more aggressive and a more complete offensive player. But he’s got a rare skill of being able to make his teammates better and pass the ball, especially at his size (6’6”) and wingspan and athleticism. It’s really exciting to see what type of player he becomes.
Is there any point guard playing today that reminds you of yourself?
I don’t know. There were comparisons between Steph (Curry) and I at different times. I think we’re different. But I think our skill sets and the way we play the game are very similar. I’m more of a playmaker at heart and I think he’s more of a scorer at heart. If I were playing today, maybe I would’ve been inspired by Steph to be more aggressive offensively. He’s out of this world. I’m just happy to sit back and watch. Hopefully my son will love the game of basketball and can idolize Steph.
You’re essentially Canadian royalty. Who’s more popular, you or Justin Trudeau?
He’s more popular. He’s running the country and setting an example. I’m just a stay-at-home dad, so to speak. So I’ll give him the edge on that one.
You weren’t highly recruited out of high school and you got off to a slow start in the NBA, but you went on to win two MVP awards. What advice would you give to a young Steve Nash, or the next generation coming up?
Hard work and belief is irreplaceable. When you’re willing to outwork people and you’re mentally tough, being able to ride the ups and downs, anything is possible. For young players, it’s really important to have a plan, set goals and be relentless in realizing those day-to-day goals that are going to allow you to reach your ultimate goals and not let anything throw you off your course, no matter how much success or failure you have or how much pressure you face.
Looking back at your basketball career, what’s your favorite memory?
I would say my teammates. All the people I got to play with, and be a part of those teams and those lives, and them be a part of mine. That’s the priceless stuff that you remember after it all goes away. I’m lucky to have played with so many guys for so many years, and build so many great relationships.
Talk about the Steve Nash Foundation?
We’re well over 10 years old now. This will be the 10th anniversary of our Showdown Soccer Game, which is June 21st in New York City, and will have NBA players and international soccer stars. We’re just lucky that we’ve been able to last so long and have such an impact on so many people, and work with so many people. Basketball is great, but to be able to put yourself in a position to have a platform to be able to put together groups of people that can influence our communities is beyond basketball. I just feel really lucky that we have been able to do so much through my foundation.