With Steve Nash at the helm, the Phoenix Suns paved the way for the run-and-gun style of play common in today’s NBA.
“When you start Amar’e (Stoudemire) at the five and you have all of those smaller guards playing, you shoot a lot of threes, that made it a little different,” said current Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek, who said he considers Nash’s Suns teams to be the first in the NBA to implement an up-tempo offense.
“We changed the game in a way. People play that style of basketball throughout the league almost now and it was a special time because something was happening that we really didn’t know what was happening at the time,” said Nash, who played in Phoenix from 1996 to 1998 and 2004 to 2012, quarterbacking the fast-paced Suns with 9.4 assists and just over 14 points per game in his 10 seasons with the team.
On Friday, the eight time all-star and two-time league MVP became the 14th player inducted into the Suns Ring of Honor.
“Part of the reason why I didn’t write a speech is because I feel like I’m in my living room,” said Nash, who played a total of 744 games for Phoenix and led the Suns to the Western Conference Finals three times.
“You guys are the best. You loved me. We went through bad times together. We went through the good times together,” Nash said to the Suns fans packed into Talking Stick Resort Arena for the ceremony held at halftime of the Suns game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Nash went on to thank his family, teammates, coaches, staff members, and fellow Ring of Honor members, 10 of whom were in attendance Friday night.
Ring of Honor member Charles Barkley never got the chance to play with Nash, but believes it would have be fun to play alongside him if given the chance.
“The way I look at it is when you have a conversation on who the best small guard is ever: Isaiah Thomas, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash are all in that conversation,” Barkley said.
Along with retiring his jersey No. 13, the Suns also honored Nash in several other ways Friday.
The team gave him a $100,000 check to help fund the Steve Nash Foundation. The Foundation contributes to Educare Arizona, a childhood facility that assists underserved children in school.
The current Phoenix team also honored Nash by wearing his face on their socks. Phoenix became the first team in NBA history to wear a player’s image on their socks during a game.
” I just want to apologize to the guys. I’m not Brad Pitt, but it’s a nice gesture,” Nash said.
There was also a giant Steve Nash bobblehead on display inside the arena.
“It’s been incredible what the organization has done for me, not just over the years but they have really taken care of me and my family to come back and do this, ” Nash said.
Throughout the night, Nash had nothing but praise for the Suns organization, acknowledging the impact the Suns have on the community and the state of Arizona as well.
“I knew it was special place when I got drafted by the Suns and I when came here,” said Nash.