Q&A with two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash
A good week for Steve Nash might get even better on Wednesday.
After watching his friend and former Dallas Mavericks teammate, Dirk Nowitzki, win his first NBA title on Sunday, Nash, a Vancouver native, is hoping his Canucks can clinch their first Stanley Cup.
Nash, 37, spends his summers living in Tribeca when he's not starring at point guard for the Phoenix Suns. The two-time NBA MVP is teaming up with friends from the basketball and soccer worlds for the Showdown in Chinatown presented by Ortsbo.com (tickets for the June 22 charity soccer game can be purchased through Nash's foundation at stevenash.org/showdown). Nash, who could become a free agent after this season, spoke with amNewYork on Tuesday.
Any advice for your Canucks entering Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, from a Vancouver native who's played in a few Game 7's himself? I think the biggest thing is to try to enjoy the moment, instead of letting the nerves or anxiety catch up with you. The truth is you just don't get to play in many Game 7's, especially for the Stanley Cup. So try to go out there and enjoy it, and get lost in the work. Just give it everything you have and good things will happen.
How does it feel to know your friend and former teammate, Dirk Nowitzki, is finally an NBA champion? It feels great. He works as hard as anybody. I think he's even taken some heat in the playoffs in years past a couple times — probably unwarranted or unnecessary heat. And he deserves this. I feel great for him because I know how much he's enjoying, because I know how much he wanted it and how much he's worked.
How do you think becoming a champion might change him? I wouldn't think it would change him much. I'm sure he'll be right back at it before you know it. I'm sure there's a lot of reward in it for him but I can't see how it would change him.
You recorded a commercial in support of New York's marriage equality bill — is the NBA ready for an openly gay player? I think we're ready. I think if we're not ready, we need to catch up. So it would probably be a good thing. I don't think it would be as big a deal, in my mind, as some people would think.
What element of soccer would you like to be brought to basketball if you could bring one? I guess the fans. Soccer fans and supporters are loud and the environment and atmosphere at soccer games is incredible. So it would be nice if you had that. But we have a slightly different tradition and business model.
You're No. 6 all-time with 9,252 assists, but you're also No. 17 all-time in turnovers with 3,092. That's a three-to-one ratio, but do you have any trouble taking the bad with the good? [Laughs.] No, not at all. I feel like everyone turns the ball over — and particularly point guards who handle the ball a lot. In the system I've played in, my job's been to create a lot of offense with my decision-making, more so than the offense itself. You know it's going to happen. I've got to take some risks, take some chances in order to create easy opportunities for my teammates. I'm at peace with turnovers, that's for sure.
Are there any new favorite neighborhoods you've discovered in the city? I don't know. I feel like one of the reasons I love New York is because I love all the neighborhoods. Every day that I go into a different neighborhood, it's like going to a different city — or part of the world, even. They all kind of make each other exciting in that respect, because you can walk out your front door into being somewhere different every day.
What do you think of the new arena going up in Brooklyn for the Nets? I think it's great. I'm speaking from the outside — you know, I don't live in Brooklyn or near where that arena would be, so I'm not sure how it would impact that community positively or negatively. But as far as our league, I think it's a great place to have a building and it's a great place to have a team. New York, and Brooklyn in particular, has such a great sports tradition and it's a great sports town. So I think it's a beautiful thing for our game.
How does soccer play into your offseason training? When I'm in New York it's a great opportunity for me to stay in shape. I play on a couple teams, play a couple days a week, stay in shape. It's a great multidirectional sport, similar to basketball in that respect. So it's good training rather than just being on the track or a treadmill.
How long do you plan to keep playing? I want to play three years, and in three years we can see how I feel. I definitely feel like three years is a good number for me right now.