It’s a long way from the playgrounds of Victoria on Canada’s west coast to the zenith of NBA stardom as the league’s most valuable player.
But Steve Nash has made that journey and in fact has joined a small group of players to have won the prestigious MVP award twice, having done so the past two seasons.
This is heady stuff for a kid who was born in South Africa and moved to Canada as a child, playing football while growing up until picking up a basketball as a 15-year-old.
Although he is now at the top of the game and life is good with a $60 million dollar contract in his pocket, Steve Nash doesn’t seem willing to rest on his laurels or his bank account.
He’s very active during the off season, doing what he does on court – giving, distributing, being selfless while helping others better themselves.
The Steve Nash Foundation is a huge priority for the soft-spoken basketball star.
These days in the sports world, the news often seems to be about athletes behaving badly and being suspended or disciplined by their respective leagues for all manner of transgressions – from match-fixing to steroids to head-butting.
It’s not often you hear words like selfless, approachable, altruistic, charitable to describe people. Not unless you’re talking about Steve Nash. And in Nash’s case, those words seem to come up a lot.
|Nash’s game isn’t all about assists (Picture:
Talking to Steve Nash, it becomes clear that success hasn’t changed him, nor has it clouded his vision about what is important.
“Playing in a basketball team gives me an opportunity to do a lot of things,” he says.
“For me, it gives me the opportunity to have a foundation and to help people and get them together. That’s a unique piece of power, and it has been fun to bring people together and make a change.”
One thing that has had Nash’s attention for some time now is doing good things with his wealth. One of the projects he’s most proud of is the help he’s been able to bring to a hospital in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion.
“My wife is Paraguayan, and unfortunately these are not great times for Paraguay,” he says.
“We were fortunate enough to raise some money and donate some money to bring people together to help furnish a neo-natal cardiovascular operating recovery room. It feels really special to have an impact on people even though they’re halfway around the world,” he adds.
Steve Nash enjoys the respect of his contemporaries and he enjoys his fan following – and nowhere more than in Canada. Yet within his own family he may not be the most famous sportsman. His brother Martin Nash, once scored for Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premiership.
“It is true. My whole family is British, so basketball’s not that common to them,” he says.
“My brother played for Tottenham for a short period of time as a trialist and scored a goal for them. It’s something that resonates with them a million times more than me playing what they see as… netball!”
Netball, basketball, football – or charity. Whatever it is, Steve Nash is doing it well, to the delight of many people.