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

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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.