By the time Steve Nash retired from the NBA after 18 seasons, there was no question he would eventually be a Hall of Famer.
Quite a change from when Nash came out of high school, when few believed he was worthy of a college scholarship.
After graduating from St. Michael’s in Victoria, British Columbia, Santa Clara University was the only NCAA school to offer Nash a basketball scholarship.
Nash turned that opportunity, combined with an incredible work ethic and an incredible knack for passing the basketball, into a career that set a new standard for point guards.
Nash will be announced as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2018 induction class on Saturday, along with former players Jason Kidd, Grant Hill and Maurice Cheeks, according to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojarowski.
Longtime executive Rod Thorn and former WNBA star Tina Thompson are also among this year’s inductees.
Grant Hill, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash have been notified that each will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's Class of 2018, sources tell ESPN. Formal announcement comes at Final Four weekend.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 29, 2018
Nash, an eight-time All-Star, ranks third all time in assists and is one of only 12 players to ever win two MVP awards.
Nash was drafted 15th overall in 1996 by Phoenix and was traded to the Dallas Mavericks before the 1998-99 season. He became a part of the Mavericks’ Big Three on offense that included Michael Finley and Dirk Nowitzki.
He was with Dallas until 2004 when he returned to Phoenix via free agency. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the decision to let Nash leave was one of the biggest mistakes he made with basketball personnel.
The only thing missing from Nash’s NBA resume is a championship. The fast-paced Suns were often among the best teams in the league with Nash at the helm of the team’s offense, but the Lakers and Spurs were usually the ones who eclipsed the Suns’ championship dreams.
Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey put Nash in the company of one of the game’s legendary players.
“The only other man I’ve seen play was Pete Maravich that had the command of the ball like Steve, and knew where everyone was on the floor,” Casey said. “They will go down in history as two of the all-time great point guards.”
Far from an imposing figure on the court, Nash did all the little things correctly.
“You look at Steve, a scrawny, little white guy coming off the pick and roll, playing without fear, shooting the ball, handling the ball, passing, making plays and you’re like: ‘Whoa,’” Casey said.
Injuries did what few in the game could, and that was to limit Nash’s effectiveness. He retired after the 2013-14 season, having played in just 15 games that year due to a back injury.
The greatest basketball player to ever come out of Canada is about to be recognized as one of the greatest players in all of basketball history. When Steve Nash gets the official word of his Hall of Fame election on Saturday, it will come as no surprise to anyone who watched him play.
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