What would you ask Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns if given the chance?
Well, a group of 50 Prince George basketball enthusiasts was given that opportunity with the two-time NBA MVP following a recent game in Portland. The following are questions put forward (in order) by the PG kids and Nash’s response in an open microphone format.
Q. Can you dunk?
A. “I did dunk last year in practice once.”
Q. How do you feel about having Shaq on your team?
A. “I feel great about having Shaq on our team. As you can see tonight he was really good. He looks like he is getting fitter and fitter and I think he gives a lot to our team that we didn’t have previously.”
Q. What kind of things about basketball discourage you and how do you deal with it?
A. “That is a great question because being successful in anything is about dealing with failure and dealing with discouragement or lack of confidence, so for me I think practice gives me confidence. If I’m ever struggling or not playing well or confused, don’t quite have a rhythm or feel comfortable with the ball, I practice. I go and I work on my game and try to get a rhythm and confidence back. When
you go out in practice and you see the ball going through the basket it starts to give you self-belief again. And I also just try to conceptualize things. If things don’t go well for me, I just have to realize it is just a game. Did I try as hard as I can? Will I practice as hard as I can before the next game? That’s all you can control. Outside of that, success or fail on the court is irrelevant. It’s only how hard you prepare and how hard you try. After that, it is out of your hands, so don’t put too much pressure on
Q. Why do you lick your fingers?
A. “I lick my fingers because the ball is really slippery. And so when I get a little moisture on my fingers then the ball doesn’t slip out of my hands and I shoot.”
Q. How do you think it would have affected your career if you hadn’t switched schools in Grade 11?
A. “I was really lucky. I went to a really good school academically and that got me to a level to go to University. I also had a teacher and a coach that instilled a lot of discipline in us academically and athletically and he was a terrific coach who still gives me advice on my game today. So a really big part of my career was changing schools (in Victoria).”
Q. Who is the hardest in the NBA to guard?
A. “There’s a bunch. I look at some of the great athletes like Lebron and Kobe and some of those guys are just physically so gifted they are very difficult to guard. And then some of the big guys as well, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.”
Q. What made you choose basketball?
A. “I went to junior high school in grade 8. All my friends in my school played basketball, so I didn’t want to be going away every other weekend with the hockey team or soccer team and missing out playing with my friends.”
Q. What do you practice the most?
A. “My shooting to get my rhythm. I also do a lot of exercises to stay healthy and to prevent injury.”
Q. How many years have you been playing?
A. “I just turned 34 and 8th grade was my first real season so that’s 21 years, and I have been playing in the NBA now for 12.”
Nash had another Q and A the next night in Seattle with about 1,500 Canadians on hand, including the PG group that went on a two-game road trip to watch the Phoenix Suns play. Nash told the media he is saddened that Seattle is about to lose its NBA team to Oklahoma City.
I’m not sure there is another superstar in any other major sport that after games will open up the microphone to his adoring Canadian fans.
It is part of what makes Steve Nash, a financial backer of the Steve Nash Youth Basketball League in BC, so special. If you don’t believe me, just ask the Prince George kids.
Hartley Miller is the sports director for radio stations 94X and the Wolf@97fm. He also writes for Opinion250. Hartley can be reached by e-mail at HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.