Posts Tagged ‘Steve Nash’

Throwback Thursday: All-Time Assists Leaders


VIDEO: Best Point Guards: Magic Johnson

Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball.

Today’s Topic: All-Time Assists Leaders

We continue our Throwback Thursday All-Time Statistical Leaders series today by looking at the Top 10 All-Time Assist Leaders.

(NOTE: Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)


Gallery: TBT: All-Time Assists Leaders

Make sure to check out our previous All-Time Statistical Leaders galleries if you missed them!
All-Time Steals Leaders

Which of these players would you want passing you the rock? Leave your comments below!

Pau Gasol And Kendall Marshall Actually Go Way Back

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With the StevesNash and Blake — as well as Jordan Farmar all injured, the Lakers signed free agent point guard Kendall Marshall. Marshall had spent last season with the Suns and a short time this season in the D-League, and in just 14 games with the Lakers, Marshall is averaging 10 points and 9 assists per game.

If Marshall looks like he’s met some of these Lakers before, it turns out that’s because he has…a really long time ago. Check out the photo Marshall posted on Twitter today, from a moment at the 2003 All-Star Weekend in Atlanta when he met a 22-year-old Pau Gasol. As Gasol tweeted in response, “Time flies!!”

NBA And Adidas Introduce Big Logo Uniforms


VIDEO: Jingle Hoops spot

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Over the last few years the NBA has taken more and more ownership of Christmas Day, scheduling games in what used to be a void of TV viewing. This year there will be five games on air back to back, and to make it even more of an event, the players participating will be rocking new uniforms — not only sleeved jerseys, but what the NBA and adidas are calling “big logo” jerseys. These feature team logos in reflective chrome as the focal point on the short-sleeve jerseys, paired with an ultra-lightweight short with chrome piping. The jerseys are available now online at the NBA Store.

To publicize the new looks, they’ve created a new ad, which you can watch above, featuring players involved in those games, including Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Steve Nash, James Harden and Stephen Curry. They have also dropped photos, which you can see in the gallery below.
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BONUS! Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Jingle Hoops commercial


VIDEO: Behind the scenes look at the Jingle Hoops commercial

Talk Show: John Stockton


VIDEO: John Stockton’s Playing Career

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — During his 19-year NBA career, played entirely with the Utah Jazz, John Stockton was known for many things. His court vision was unparalleled — he led the NBA in assists for nine consecutive seasons and retired with 15,806 assists, more than any player in league history, as well as 3,265 steals, the most all-time. He was unbelievably resilient — Stockton missed a total of just 22 regular season games over his career. And of course, Stockton teamed with Karl Malone to create teams that were consistent contenders in the Western Conference (if not the league).

But Stockton was also perhaps just as well known for the things he did not do — Stockton eschewed showing off, being flashy for the sake of flash. He wore the most uniform uniform possible, and he never said anything designed to make headlines or draw attention to himself. So it might come as something of a surprise to fans of both Stockton and the Jazz that Stockton has penned an autobiography, Assisted, available now. The book details Stockton’s remarkable story, of how a guy just over six feet tall and weighing maybe 170 pounds was able to make himself one of the giants of NBA history.

Earlier this week we sat down with Stockton in New York City to talk about the book, his career, and his take on the NBA today.

Assisted Stockton_cover Book

ME: You write about how you started this book because you were really just trying to get all this information down for your kids to have one day. Previous to this had you ever really had any interest in writing?

STOCKTON: No. I was looking for alternatives for something to do with my life. I am very busy — I do coaching, I have parts of businesses — but there’s a void in those days that was pretty quiet, and I was shuffling my feet, trying to figure out what to do. That was the first time I thought [writing] might be a good solution. I didn’t want to find another career, because I didn’t want it to interfere with the stuff I really was enjoying since retirement. So it seemed like a nice fit, and I found a nice project in it.

ME: Were you a reader at all?

STOCKTON: Yeah, I love to read. I didn’t read much in college except for homework, then afterward I fell in love with books. Our (assistant) coach, Phil Johnson with the Jazz, was an avid lover of non-fiction. He’s turned me on to lots of books. So I read a lot now.

ME: Non-fiction?

STOCKTON: Mostly, yeah. There are some great stories out there.

ME: What was your process like as a writer? Did you carve out a couple of hours every day? Or were there times where you’d wake up in the middle of the night and jot something down?

STOCKTON: That’s a great question. It started with the idea. I went and visited my old coach (Kerry Pickett), who was a really well-read guy and who helped me throughout. So we talked for a long time. He took notes and kind of made a little sketch of an outline, which I would never do, because I just want to write, I didn’t want to organize. So he organized, then he’d send me little assignments. He said, “OK, this is what you seem to want to talk about, you go write about this for a while.” And then it might be a month, it might be three months, it might have been six months, depending on what my schedule was like — like summertime, we’d go on AAU trips and stuff like that, there’s no time. So we’d wait. So it took about four or five years but that’s how it would work. But yeah, I’d be sitting in church and would think, “Why didn’t I think about that?” And I’d write it down on the envelopes. Or I’d wake up in the middle of the night — not often — and I’d write down a note. So that was helpful.

ME: That reminds me of the “Seinfeld” episode where he wakes up in the middle of the night and writes down a hilarious joke and then the next day can’t read his writing.

STOCKTON: (laughing) “Seinfeld’s” great!

ME: In the book one of the things you write about is the importance of balance and vision for a basketball player. Is that something that can be taught? Or is that something that has to be innate for an athlete?

STOCKTON: I think it can be enhanced. One thing I’ve watched coaching my own kids and their friends, for instance, is there are some kids that have certain things, it seems like from the get-go. You almost don’t have to say anything to them, but they get it. And then there’s other ones that you can’t turn your back on them because you’re trying to get better as a team, so they need to get it. So yeah, you can definitely get better at balance, can definitely get better at vision, but can you go off the charts if you’re not wired for that? Probably not.

ME: You wrote in the book about Jeff Hornacek having such a great knowledge of the game when you played with him. How much does having a great knowledge for a sport play a part in success versus just outstanding athleticism? Basically, how much does knowing where to position yourself matter versus having just great natural ability?

STOCKTON: Well, you see it every day. I think it’s the most overlooked thing in sports, in all sports. You watch baseball, a centerfielder may not run a 4.2 forty, but he gets to every single ball. What is he seeing that the rest of us aren’t? Jeff Hornacek was a plenty good enough athlete — he didn’t have a deficiency in that area that he overcame with intelligence — but boy was he bright. And he knew things in advance, he had numbers in his head and he could combine them all. So, special guy. I think right now it’s easier to go find that cookie-cutter athlete and say, “That’s my next starting center fielder.” Where I think they miss — and I’m picking on baseball but this is all sports — is they’re missing that guy that gets it, who has great anticipation, has a feel for where the pitch is and where it’s going to strike the bat and is already there. That’s a baseball player to me.

ME: The book talks a lot about your competitive streak. If you hadn’t become a basketball player, do you think you would have done something else in sports?

STOCKTON: I would have sure tried. As with all kids growing up you’ve got a ball in your hands, you’ve got a bat in your hands. So I would have sure tried like crazy. I was probably most equipped for baseball, although I never really shined in it and never had the type of coaching I had in basketball. Football, I just matured too late. I thought someday maybe I could be a quarterback but when you’re 94 pounds in high school, it’s pretty tough to enhance those skills much (laughs).

Portland Trailblazers  vs. Utah Jazz

ME: Karl Malone says in the foreward of your book how when you played you never really opened up much with the media, even though you did have thoughts and opinions. But because you never talked about those things, people thought you didn’t really have opinions on those things. Why did you feel like now was the time to open up?

STOCKTON: Well, I have a lot of opinions that didn’t make the book. That’s a fine line. When you’re talking and you and I are in a room and this (points to digital recorder) isn’t on, we could have a lot more open discussion about sensitive topics because we could get through any hiccups. Once you’re writing and it’s on paper and you’re defending it to nobody, that’s a tough proposition. I don’t feel like I’m really venting a lot of opinions. I would like to have, in a way. But it’s a tough venue. Karl and I could talk about anything, but most of that stuff I’m not putting in print.

ME: Were you at all leery about opening yourself up and putting it down on paper?

STOCKTON: No. I don’t feel like I have. I don’t feel like I have betrayed myself or my family. It’s really important to me that they have their privacy. My kids should have the choice of following in that or in being a perfectly anonymous citizen. So it was really important for me not to spoil any of that hard-sought stuff for this. So I tried to tell good stories about good people and how they were helpful without betraying any of the confidences and privacy that they deserved.

ME: Throughout the book you details lessons you learned from situations in your life or in your NBA career. Was that something you wanted to hammer home?

STOCKTON: I think everybody’s perception, especially for a professional athlete, is that it’s always been easy: You’re always a great shooter, you always cruise through it, whatever. But when you get to the point of learning opportunities, I looked forward to them. Being the younger child, my brother was better than me at pretty much everything. I didn’t weigh much at all, so I was kind of just saying, “You got me there, you got me there,” and little by little you kind of whittle the difference down until you’re a better player. I don’t know if an older brother has a chance to do that, because you’re always the king.

ME: I’ve heard people talk about a boy having an older brother being a big thing because they kind of show you the ropes — they show you what music to listen to, what TV shows to watch, all that stuff.

STOCKTON: (nodding) When my brother and my Dad would get mad at each other about anything — maybe it was mowing the lawn — I figured, “Hey, I’m going to mow the lawn. I’m not going to get caught in this.” There were so many lessons every day.

ME: And then you get the brownie points — “Hey, John mowed the lawn without us asking!”

STOCKTON: (laughing) Exactly!

ME: One story I liked in the book that you didn’t go into a lot of detail on is when Karl got drafted by the Jazz and first visited Salt Lake City, the two of you spent a day getting to know each other at the zoo. What compelled you guys to wake up and go to the zoo?

STOCKTON: I don’t remember. He’s just a country kid, and we’re in Salt Lake and I’m just a year into it, so I don’t exactly have command of it myself. I said to him, “We could drive up into the mountains, that’s gorgeous. Or maybe we could…go to the zoo?” And he said, “Zoo? Sounds good. Let’s go.” So we had a beautiful afternoon there. Pretty peaceful.

ME: You talked in the book about how Adam Keefe was one of the best teammates you ever had. What other players that people might not immediately think of were some of your favorite teammates?

STOCKTON: Greg Foster was one. Antoine Carr was a great teammate. Bryon Russell. Shannon Anderson. Howard Eisley was absolutely one of my favorites. The team that went to the Finals was loaded with the type of teammates that you hope for. I know I left out some guys, but those were some of my favorite teammates.

ME: What made them good teammates? Good people? Good players?

STOCKTON: First of all, great players. And players where it wasn’t all about them — they were willing to make their sacrifices for the squad without feeling sacrificial. Fit in, got better — they didn’t just sit there and think, “Hey, Karl Malone is going to carry us.” They got better and we got better as a result. They were not afraid to say something to you, “Hey, I’m seeing this. Take a look at that when you’re out there.” And having the right approach with different guys — you can’t talk to everybody the same way.

ME: When you retired you said something about making sure your shorts were hemmed up high throughout your career. Were the short shorts a deliberate choice?

STOCKTON: My second-to-last year, I think — my seventeenth year — the equipment manager came up to me and said, “Would like to lengthen your shorts?” I really didn’t know that it was an option. I’d never asked, and they’d never asked me. So we just kind of kept plugging on. Everybody kept talking about my shorts and I thought, “Well, I didn’t change anything…”

ME: You didn’t maybe notice around you that the shorts were getting bigger and longer?

STOCKTON: Yeah, but I was comfortable with it. I also saw other guys with 34-inch waists get 40-inch shorts and then just cinch them, and that…that didn’t make any sense to me.

Utah Jazz

ME: What made Jerry Sloan such a great coach?

STOCKTON: Fiercely competitive. He eliminates nonsense. The hard-nose tag is probably accurate, but you don’t sit there thinking that he’s tough every day — he’s a very reasonable man. Smart. He’s been around the game forever. Furthermore, if we won, it was a credit to the players. If we lost, it was all him, so he always took the blame, gave the credit, and provided the opportunity for us to play without having to be something more than basketball players. He said, “Hey, you guys want to shine, play better.” He said, “Do it with your play.” So I think those were some of the reasons that he was great.

ME: Was he the kind of coach who gave the fiery motivational speech? Did he have the quotes on the wall? He seems a little more pragmatic than that.

STOCKTON: Not a quote on the wall guy. Every once in a while, a little fire and brimstone. But, you know, you play 100-something games every year, I don’t know how many times you can afford to go to the well on that. He called it like you saw it, you knew where you stood, and knew what he expected of you.

ME: What younger players do you like to watch today?

STOCKTON: That’s a good question. I don’t see enough games to be fair about it. My kids are very active in sports, so I’m going to football games, basketball games, baseball games, practices. So I get home and the Jazz game will be on — we are in their territory since Seattle departed. So we get a large portion of their games. Really, all I get to see is them and who they’re playing against on any given night. So I don’t have a great feel for the guys that are out there. And yet I probably still have some decent opinions, but they’re so snap-shotty, that I really don’t feel it’s fair.

ME: Do you still watch a lot of NBA games?

STOCKTON: I watch a lot of playoff games. The timing seems to work better, for whatever reason — the high school sports are done by then. But regular season I don’t catch a bunch. I’ve coached in high schools with the boys and girls, and then we’ve got kids in AAU and all that, so it’s busy. Maybe someday.

ME: Who was the toughest player for you to play against in the NBA?

STOCKTON: There are a number of them. When I was younger, clearly Magic Johnson was tough, probably impossible for me to guard. Kevin Johnson, Mark Price, Isiah Thomas — those were the killer guys at my position. Evolving into, of course, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash. There was never a shortage of guys at that position.

ME: We had Isiah on our podcast recently and I asked him how many points he would have averaged if he played in his prime with the rules the way they are today, and he said might average 40.

STOCKTON: He might be right.

ME: Would your career have been different if you had played the entire time with these rules — no hand-checking, all that stuff?

STOCKTON: No question. I think it’s a lot less physical game. I think in some ways they’re almost attempting to ruin it. The charge line drives me crazy. I hate that line. And I didn’t take a ton of charges — you might think that I did, but I didn’t. The advantage is just to anyone that leaves their feet. I think there’s such a game that’s being missed when they’re protecting those guys. In our day there was a risk to that. Now you leave your feet and you’re protected. Now if you get touched on the head it’s a threat of concussion and maybe this person should be suspended for a couple of weeks. I saw guys — myself included — clotheslined. Whether intentional or not, it happens. So I’m disappointed in that trend. I’d like to see them maybe discourage some of that and give basketball players a chance to blossom a little bit, instead of just people who can leave their feet.

ME: What do you think of the advance stats that are so pervasive in sports today? Do you think there’s a place for that in basketball or sports?

STOCKTON: Well, I watched Moneyball and read that book, and I watched the Oakland A’s every year. So I think about that: Is there some sort of formula that would work for a basketball player? I’m not smart enough to figure that out. I imagine there’s something in there, but it’s going to be a long time before I can help you with it (laughs).

Talk Show: Steve Nash

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you want to find Lakers PG Steve Nash in the summer, a good bet is to look somewhere around a soccer field. Not only is Nash a part-owner of the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps, but Nash has always loved playing the beautiful game, so much so that each summer he organizes the Steve Nash Foundation Showdown to benefit his charitable foundation.

Nash is in New York City today to train with Inter Milan, in conjunction with the Guinness International Champions Cup. We grabbed a few minutes with Nash this morning…

Steve Nash Foundation Showdown GameME: So run this down for me: You’re trying out for Inter Milan today?

NASH: (laughs) Sort of, yeah. I think that’s the way it’s being labeled, but it’s more of an honorary tryout, more like I’m going to go practice with them. But yeah, I’m looking forward to it.

ME: What position do you play in soccer?

NASH: Anything attacking. More like a midfielder, but anything going forward.

ME: So like a true number 10, sort of?

NASH: Yeah! I mean, in my youth, yes.

ME: Did you see Nate Robinson is going to wear number 10 in honor of Messi?

NASH: Yeah, I did.

ME: I remembered Nate playing in the Showdown a couple of years ago — I didn’t know if you put him on to soccer?

NASH: (laughs) Right, he’s converted now.

ME: I’ve been talking about soccer with you for over a decade. You’ve seen the growth of soccer in the States over that time, and now you’re involved with MLS. Do you think soccer has turned a corner in the States in terms of popularity?

NASH: I think the game’s growing incredibly. The exposure, the amount of games you can watch on TV. One of the kind of alarming things to me is just — I mean, it’s on the ticker on “SportsCenter.” When I was in college you’d never see a soccer score on the ticker. Now, every day there’s a soccer result on the ticker on “SportsCenter.” And yeah, that kind of says something about the solidity the game has in the States right now. It’s going in the right direction.

ME: I know basketball has become really popular in Canada, and I was wondering is there any sort of similarity between the growth of basketball in Canada and the growth of soccer in the States?

NASH: Yeah, I guess in some ways. Soccer was always pretty big in Canada. Not that we’re a soccer power, but the game was big. Basketball is taking a soccer-like turn in Canada, the way soccer is growing in the States. I think a big part of it was having the Raptors and the Grizzlies in Canada, which really gave kids a lot of exposure to the game but also something to strive for. I also think the internet over the last ten years — there’s no more secrets. Kids can go online and see the best kids of their age groups, or best practices, and I think kids have taken that opportunity and run with it.

ME: How are you feeling, physically?

NASH: Good, coming around. Good enough to embarrass myself on the soccer field. I’m not quite 100 percent, I can’t quite sprint, but I’ve been able to train around it, so I’ve made a lot of progress in other ways, and hopefully in the next three or four weeks I should be one hundred percent.

ME: What kind of forecast can you give us for the Lakers this season?

NASH: I think everyone’s kind of counting us out, which is fine by me. I think it’s good for us to fly under the radar a little bit. We’ve got a lot of new pieces, we’ve got guys coming off injuries, myself included. So we’ve got to find out where everyone’s health is, and then figure out each other and play together, and hopefully we can surprise some people.

ME: Last thing: What is it like being around Kobe Bryant, being around someone with that singular of a drive?

NASH: I think people kind of know what he’s like. He’s very single-minded, he’s very prepared, very intense. You can feel it, you feel the intensity. I think that’s what people expect and that’s what he is.

Help Design New Dallas Mavericks Uniforms

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER –Have you ever looked a team’s uniform and thought, “I could come up with something better than that?” Well, has Mark Cuban got a proposition for you: You can design new uniforms for the Dallas Mavericks.

In the wide universe of sports uniforms, everything old is new again. Or at least it seems that way, as franchises introducing new uniforms increasingly look to throwback logos and color schemes, trading on nostalgia to find looks that simultaneously feel new and familiar. The Mavs have had the same basic look since 2001, with a few notable exceptions: Who could forget the drab gray alternates in 2003-04…

Steve Nash moves ball

…or the P-Diddy-designed green alternates?

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks

Now it’s time for something new (well, for the 2015-16 season). Mavs owner Mark Cuban is crowd-sourcing this project on his blog, asking fans who have an idea or a plan to offer up their designs in his comments section. If you win, you could see the Dallas Mavericks rocking your uniform on the court. Pretty simple.

If there’s a catch here, it’s that Cuban says you will not be paid for your work — he suggests maybe some free tickets could be in the offing — but he’s up-front about the deal and suggests that if this offends you, don’t get involved. (I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t some elaborate Willy Wonka-type situation where Cuban is just looking for someone who is willing to do the work for free, and then he will reward you by giving you the Texas Legends D-League team or something like that. With Jerry Jones as Slugworth? OK, sure, probably not.)

Anyway, do you think can do better that what you’ve seen here? Swing by Cuban’s blog and show the world.

NBA Style: Jill Martin’s Fashion Breakdown

by Jill Martin

Rules are meant to be broken, as long as you do it with style. In 2005, when the new NBA dress code was enacted, the players were asked to change their look from hoodies to haute couture. Since then, the tunnel from the locker room to the court has turned into a veritable runway. Cameras are rolling, Twitter pics are taken and fashion magazines are fighting for NBA players to grace their covers. Celebrities have even been replaced by NBA stars in the front row at Fashion Week, while Vogue editor Anna Wintour (below) hosts the league’s biggest names while she sits courtside during NBA games.

Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks

Prior to 2005, players were able to (pretty much) wear what they wanted. Sports jerseys were prevalent, jeans were worn low, and “regular” sneakers could be seen in the tunnels and at the podium. But in the eight years since Commissioner Stern put the dress code in place, the NBA’s fashion landscape has changed dramatically. Many players took the new rule very seriously and at least initially chose to err on the conservative side, while others have used it as a way to bolster their names in the fashion world—and in turn gain high-end endorsements. For example, in 2011 Steve Nash launched a line of designer suits with a Vancouver-based apparel brand Indochino, a far cry from the look he donned on Draft Day…

Phoenix Suns

NBA charity events are even turning into fashion galas. Heat star Dwyane Wade recently held his first “Night on the Runwade” to benefit his “Wade’s World Foundation.” The entire production was centered around a runway, with involvement from fashion designers and auction items. I had the honor of hosting the event (we both wore Louboutins.)

384401_10151237957542359_2020319639_n

Here are some details of the dress code that you probably don’t know about:

• General policy is business casual-attire, which means a long or short-sleeve collared (or turtleneck) shirt and/or a dress sweater. LeBron James recently wore an interesting holiday-like top during a press conference—so is that cause for a fine? Well, only by the fashion police!

LeBronPresser

• On the other hand, Russell Westbrook wore a sleeveless top during Round 1 (pre-injury). I assume he knew he would likely have to pay up for that “Mr. T”  look, but sometimes a fashion statement is worth the investment. At least Russ seems to think so.

Westbrook_Game1

• As far as shoes go? The 2005 dress code calls for “appropriate shoes and socks (dress shoes or boots) or other presentable shoes. This does not include sneakers, sandals, flip-flops or work boots.”

How this has evolved? Designer sneakers have now become acceptable. Because these high-end brands are now making sneaks that look like they can be worn to a black-tie affair, the players have made this part of their look and the league has not complained. As fashion evolves on the runway, it seems the league is rolling with the changes. By not fining players for these designer duds, the League is acknowledging the difference between a casual sneaker and a designer pair, as Matt Barnes models below.

4_arrival_Matt Barnes

• And it seems diamonds are no longer just a girl’s best friend—accessories have become just as important as a player’s outfit. Jewels, designer hats and flashy pieces have become part of the post-game uniform.

A few other interesting notes when checking out the NBA fashion show:
— When a player is sitting on the bench, a jacket is required, as are dress shoes and socks.
— Team issued warm-up suits are also acceptable coming in and out of the arena.
— In addition, a team can enforce its own rules as long as the minimum dress code is adhered to.

So the next time you see a pair of luxe loafers or Louboutins step off the bus, remember that it’s important to many of your favorite players to get off on the right foot.

Jill Martin is the MSG New York Knicks Reporter and Today Show Style Correspondent.

NBA Style: Spotlight On Accessories


By the NBA.com Style Crew

While a basketball game can be won and lost based on the details, many players bring those same intricacies to their wardrobes. And when the tunnel becomes a runway, and the press conference podium becomes a stage, suddenly NBA players are the ones starting trends.

Here are some well-coordinated recent looks from around the League. As we continue to keep tabs on Playoff fashion and the new trends that arise during the NBA’s second season, use #NBAStyle on Twitter to communicate your thoughts.

Russell Westbrook always chooses bold accessories, sporting clear frames and a gold medallion necklace on Sunday after OKC’s Game 1 win against the Rockets…

Westbrook_Game1

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NBA Style: Nash vs. Melo



By NBA.com Staff

Steve Nash and Carmelo Anthony both play in NBA — and fashion — capitals. Which player’s style has transformed the most over the years? Drop a vote down below, or tweet us with hashtag #nbastyle .

CARMELO ANTHONY THEN … AND NOW:

 Denver Nuggets Havana Nights Charity GalaNew York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers

STEVE NASH THEN … AND NOW:

Phoenix Suns v Dallas MavericksNew York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers

Another Stinger In Valley Of Sun

By Jeff Case

 

No one will confuse the 2012-13 Phoenix Suns with a legit title contender, but they haven’t been as awful as some thought they’d be this season. At 3-4, they’ve beaten the teams they probably should (Cleveland, Detroit and Charlotte) and lost to the ones they probably should have (Utah, Miami) and taken losses in two others that were a toss-up (Orlando and Golden State).

Still, the memories of Steve Nash directing coach Mike D’Antoni‘s Seven Seconds Or Less offense are still somewhat fresh. Don’t forget about that great small forward they had too … what was his name … oh yeah! Shawn Marion. In remembering those days, though, Suns fans also recall the way those peak D’Antoni-Nash-Marion-Amar’e Stoudemire teams used to routinely falter against the Spurs, Mavs and Lakers in the West playoffs.

Since those glory days, D’Antoni has been hired (and fired) by New York, Marion was traded to Miami, Stoudemire bolted as a free agent for New York and Nash skipped town, too.

All that to say: is there any fan base that’s seen more of their icons tied to different successful eras leave more often than Phoenix has?

Consider these Suns icons who left town:

  • Paul Wesphal, a three-time All-Star in Phoenix and the leading scorer on the Suns’ 1976 Finals runner-up team, was dealt to rival Seattle in the summer of 1980. The Sonics, at the time, were easily one of the most dominant teams in the West and had won it all in 1979. Westphal, who coached Phoenix to the ’93 Finals, also coached Seattle in the late 1990s. Double-ouch.
  • Charles Barkley won the MVP in 1993, led Phoenix to The Finals that season and is, perhaps, the most well-known Sun ever. He forced a trade to Houston in 1996 so he could chase a ring with Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, who were key pieces to the Rockets’ last title team in 1994-95. That ’94-95 squad ousted a 59-win Phoenix team in the West semis.
  • Marion, he of the great nickname (“The Matrix”), was a four-time All-Star in Phoenix before the O’Neal trade. That opened the door for his trade to Toronto, which led to his eventual signing as a free agent with the rival Mavs in 2009. Dallas won the whole thing in 2011.
  • You name it, Nash did it for Phoenix. Yet in the summer, the chance to be closer to his children and have a good shot at a ring made the Lakers the easy pick. Need we explain the Suns-Lakers rivalry?
  • D’Antoni’s Suns exploits are many, but is there any worse place he could have landed for Suns watchers than the L.A. Lakers? Sorry to break the news …

Look around the NBA’s history and every so often you’ll see an MVP (Karl Malone to the Lakers) or a Finals MVP (Chauncey Billups to Denver) or an overall franchise face (Chris Paul to the Clippers) get moved or sign elsewhere. But it’s hard to think of a team outside of Phoenix that has seen more iconic players either move on or be moved on to chase a ring elsewhere.