<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>


Steve Nash makes it official: “I’m retiring”


We knew this was coming. From the moment Steve Nash said he couldn’t play for the Lakers this season we knew this was the end of what had been a Hall of Fame career. The Lakers kept him around as potential trade bait (as much of a longshot as that was), but we knew the days of Steve Nash on the court were over.

Saturday he made it official in an article the Players’ Tribune.

“I’m retiring…

The greatest gift has been to be completely immersed in my passion and striving for something I loved so much — visualizing a ladder, climbing up to my heroes. The obsession became my best friend. I talked to her, cherished her, fought with her and got knocked on my ass by her.

And that is what I’m most thankful for in my career. In my entire life, in some ways. Obviously, I value my kids and my family more than the game, but in some ways having this friend — this ever-present pursuit — has made me who I am, taught me and tested me, and given me a mission that feels irreplaceable. I am so thankful. I’ve learned so many invaluable lessons about myself and about life. And of course I still have so much to learn. Another incredible gift….

I will likely never play basketball again. It’s bittersweet. I already miss the game deeply, but I’m also really excited to learn to do something else. This letter is for anyone who’s taken note of my career. At the heart of this letter, I’m speaking to kids everywhere who have no idea what the future holds or how to take charge of their place in it. When I think of my career, I can’t help but think of the kid with his ball, falling in love. That’s still what I identify with and did so throughout my entire story.

In the article he thanks Don Nelson for pushing him to score more. He thanks Mike D’Antoni for helping change the NBA and giving him the perfect platform. He thanks Dirk Nowitzki, Amar’e Stoudemire, Michael Finley, Alvin Gentry, and Jay Triano among others. He thanks his family. He thanks his fans.

We should thank him.

If you are enjoying the era of great point guard play in the NBA, know that started with Nash. His ability to hold on to his dribble and use it to break down defenses, his use of passing angles to set up teammates helped evolve the game out of the isolation basketball era. What he did with D’Antoni and the Suns helped change the game for the better (every team stole from them, including Gregg Popovich and the Spurs). They helped to the NBA more of a team game again, to get teams playing with pace again. It simply was a joy to watch Steve Nash play. He also was one of the most gracious athletes I ever had the pleasure to cover.

Nash, a two-time MVP, played 18 NBA seasons and will finish third on the all-time assist list. He is destined for the Hall of Fame. It will be a fitting finale to a special career.

One that is now officially over.


Kings’ Derrick Williams dunks and Bismack Biyombo is helpless to stop it (VIDEO)

Charlotte Hornets v Sacramento Kings

That is pretty much the definition of a poster dunk.

Late in the third quarter Derrick Williams made his cut, and Andre Miller hit him with the perfect bounce pass. It happened faster than Bismack Biyombo could rotate, and the rest is one of the better dunks of the season.

The Kings went on to win 101-91 behind 33 points from Rudy Gay. That loss was a  blow to a Hornets team fighting to make the playoffs in the East.

Russell Westbrook records another triple-double, Thunder pick up key win (VIDEO)

Atlanta Hawks v Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder got bad news about Kevin Durant on the same day that the Atlanta Hawks were coming to down. That has recipe for an emotional letdown and an ugly loss.

Russell Westbrook refused to let that happen.

It was another MVP-level performance for Westbrook, who had his ninth triple-double of the season — 36 points (15 in the fourth quarter), 14 assists, and 10 rebounds. The Thunder went on a 19-2 run in the fourth quarter to pick up the 123-115 win. Dion Waiters was also key with 26 points.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. The Pelicans — without Anthony Davis — lost to the Warriors. That gives OKC a two-game lead over New Orleans for the final playoff spot in the West. Without Durant or Serge Ibaka down the stretch, it’s going to take more games like this from Westbrook to get OKC in the postseason.


Orlando’s Elfrid Payton records second-straight triple-double (VIDEO)

Elfrid Payton, Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo

Who does Elfrid Payton think he is, Russell Westbrook?

The Orlando Magic rookie is growing more comfortable with the NBA game and looked very good against Portland Friday night: 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Payton was in attack mode and getting to the rim — he hit 8-of-9 in the restricted area on the night.

Payton was central to the Magic upsetting the Trail Blazers Friday night, 111-104.

Payton has some work to do on his jump shot and other aspects of his game. But he’s starting to look like another key piece of the future in Orlando.

Celtics’ Marcus Smart ejected for punching Matt Bonner in the… family jewels

Minnesota Timberwolves v San Antonio Spurs

Boston had been playing well recently, but they got a little frustrated Friday night when the Spurs just destroyed them, looking like the vintage Spurs.

Marcus Smart was particularly frustrated battling early foul trouble and took that frustration out with a punch to Matt Bonner’s… groin. Family jewels. Whatever other term you wish to use.

Bonner, to his credit, didn’t flinch. But he was understandably pissed.

The referees reviewed this and ejected Smart. He can expect to write a check to the league for this as well (if not miss a game).

Smart said after the game this wasn’t intentional.

Smart came into last year’s draft with some concerns about his attitude and composure, but he had largely moved past that this season. Let’s hope this is just a one-off and not the start of a trend.