Professional winter sport is driving to a climax on two fronts. And in the land where hockey is king, a South African-born, Victoria-raised basketball player is stealing the show.
Steve Nash never demands but certainly warrants our attention.
At 36 years of age, bloodied and bruised, the two-time NBA MVP is still in the hunt for a coveted prize that’s escaped him — a league championship.
His quest for the golden ring is the most compelling odyssey any sports fan could ask for. Nash is a David in the land of Goliaths. He makes plays, delivers passes and scores points at a rate that leaves much bigger men bewildered.
Many would argue if you’re not watching Steve Nash when he’s on the court for the Phoenix Suns, you’re not really watching the game.
Then again, he has always flown under the radar in this country. Nash has won of the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s athlete of the year only once —2004. He could have been the slam-dunk choice at least five times, but at selection time it becomes a case of who’s out there besides Nash? In other words, we Canadians sometimes take his talent for granted.
He’s an athlete of substance — something not to be discounted.
Nash captained the Canadian Olympic team to a thrilling run at the 2000 Sydney Games. He lived in the Athletes Village and was often found playing table tennis with gymnasts and divers. He left the court in tears after Canada fell to France in the quarter-finals.
Off the court, he’s a member of the Order of Canada and operates the Steve Nash Foundation, which provides millions of dollars to disadvantaged children around the world. He is outspoken on contentious issues surrounding the environment and poverty.
Nash also loves soccer. He remains a very good player and fully plans to be in South Africa for the World Cup. He may have to delay his departure.
There’s something about Steve Nash and you don’t want to miss it. This great Canadian athlete’s chance at crowning glory may never come again.
– Gemini Award winner and author Scott Russell is the Host of CBC Sports Weekend seen Saturday afternoons. A 20-year CBC Sports veteran, he has covered a variety of professional and amateur sports including nine Olympic games and numerous world championships.