Steve Nash called it a career on Saturday by announcing his retirement. The elite guard has the third-most assists in NBA history and won back-to-back MVP honors, which has only been done 10 times. The soon-to-be Hall of Fame point guard wrote his farewell with a heartfelt letter on The Players’ Tribune, a media platform powered by professional athletes that was founded by Derek Jeter.
“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,” Nash wrote. “The obsession became my best friend. I talked to her, cherished her, fought with her and got knocked on my ass by her.
Nash, who turned 41 last month, leaves the game as the most accurate free-throw shooter in NBA history, edging Mark Price’s career mark at 90.4 percent.
“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.”
“It’s just a weird transition. Every athlete goes through it. A lot of people say an athlete dies twice and in some ways, without being salacious, that’s true. If you want to enjoy and be happy in life, you have in some ways to say goodbye to your former self. And that’s not easy, especially for guys. We’re not the most communicative of the species. So it’s hard to kind of put it all in perspective.”
Even Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper thanked Nash on Twitter.
Despite two NBA MVP awards, he never won an NBA Championship, making him just one of six former MVPs to have never won an NBA title.
“It will always hurt that Phoenix Suns fans didn’t get the championship they deserved during our run,” Nash wrote. “Yes, we had some bad luck but I always look back at it and think, I could’ve made one more shot, or not forced a turnover, or made a better pass. But I don’t regret anything. The arena was always sold out and rocking. It was the time of my life. Thanks, Phoenix.”
From 1998-2004 Nash played for the Dallas Mavericks and had several successful seasons with Dirk Nowitzki.
I remember when Dirk and I were nobodies. He used to say over dinner sometimes, “How are us two stiffs gonna make it in this league?” Somehow we made something of ourselves. After all the wins and all the great times we’ve had around the world together, what really means the most to me are the late nights early in our careers when we’d go back to the Landry Center in Dallas, to play a few more games of HORSE and one-on-one. Dirk and the great city of Dallas got their championship, and I couldn’t be happier for them.
For his 19-year career, Nash averaged 14.3 points, 8.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 31.3 minutes a night. He has eight All-Star Game selections on his resume.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “I already miss the game deeply, but I’m also really excited to learn to do something else.”