Steve Nash MVP Press Conference
SUNS SR. VICE PRESIDENT OF BROADCASTING AL MCCOY: “First of all, I would like to thank all of you for being here today and for your patience. It is interesting, if you think of things that happen in the NBA and I’m sure every franchise in the NBA has historical high moments. Whether it is a great game, a great playoff series, a championship series run, I’m sure every player in the NBA throughout there career has a number of highs, such as being selected to an All-Star team or it could be a great playoff series or championship series. Well today, it is certainly a historic highlight day for the Phoenix Suns and I think a very historic highlight day for a Suns player. Let me introduce right now, to my right, the head coach of the Phoenix Suns, Mike D’Antoni. Next to Mike, the Chairman and CEO of the Phoenix Suns, Jerry Colangelo. It was 1996 when I had the pleasure of introducing this young man to the media as the first-round draft pick of the Suns. And I have to be honest with you; it just gives me tremendous thrills to introduce him today officially as the NBA’s 2004-05 Most Valuable Player, Steve Nash.”
MCCOY: “Again we thank you for being with us and first of all let me call up the coach of the Suns, Mike D’ Antoni.”
SUNS HEAD COACH MIKE D’ANTONI: “First of all, I would like to congratulate Steve, that is an unbelievable honor. As coaches we really try to preach team first, share the basketball, do whatever it takes to win and finally somebody got it right because we did that. We did it as a team. He made his teammates better. His teammates made him a lot better, everyone has had a career year here and 62 wins means something. I’m really proud to be apart of them of Steve and I’m sure his teammates feel the same way and vice versa. I’m glad we all did it right this time and we got the most valuable player.”
MCCOY: “Thank you coach and now to make it official, Jerry if you would please, Jerry Colangelo.”
SUNS CHAIRMAN AND CEO JERRY COLANGELO: “I just want to tell you a couple of things that I think of when I think of Steve Nash and what he has accomplished. At No. 15 in the draft back in 1996, there were some questions about his career in the NBA as to what he would be able to accomplish if he were able to control everything. We had a couple of pretty good point guards here, Jason Kidd and Kevin Johnson. So we added Steve to the mix and I remember a few years later he came in to talk to us and he said I know I can start, I know I can start and be a leader in this league somewhere so you have to help me get somewhere. He didn’t want to leave and he also added this, ‘You don’t want to pay me a starter point guard money if I’m going to be a back up point guard so I just need a chance.’ It was a tough thing to part with Steve because we loved him as an individual. He is a class guy. We really believed that he had that ability, but we were kind of stuck in terms of the number of people that we had. So he goes to Dallas and his game just prospered. It became evident to us a year ago, at this time, that we were going to do a lot of things to change our future. The time came, Steve was a free agent, we all went down, (Suns Vice Chairman and Manager Partner Robert Sarver, Mike (D’Antoni), (Suns President and General Manager) Bryan (Colangelo), myself, (Suns Director of Basketball Operations) Rex Chapman and we went there with one purpose, and that was to come back with Steve Nash. He had no idea that by the end of the day that is exactly what would happen, but the story that I always will remember was as we sat around the table, each of us had something to say to Steve as to why we felt it was so important to him to come back and Amaré (Stoudemire) had a classic line in my opinion. I’m going to paraphrase, but he said, ‘Steve we really need you, we have a lot of good guys. We’re young and we need you because you could be the leader and I need somebody to get me the ball and I promise you if you get it to me, I’ll finish.’ That was prophetic and as Mike said the fact that Steve came back, took on that leadership role and people just don’t hand you something, you earn it and that is exactly what took place here. The mutual respect of the players back and forth and Mike said it perfectly, Steve had a lot to do with helping them and they had a lot to do with helping him. And together it was quite a year and we’re only getting started. To think back on the 15th player selected in the draft, who was only going to be a backup point guard in the NBA and to see him today as MVP is an incredible journey and we are all really proud of you Steve.”
COLANGELO: “So I’m going to present the trophy to Steve Nash.”
MCCOY: “And now Steve it is you turn, come on up and take over.”
SUNS GUARD STEVE NASH: “I think fittingly for me to win this award, I couldn’t have done this without my teammates so I don’t know if this is proper protocol, but I would like you guys (his teammates) to all come up here with me. There is no way I could have done it without these guys.”
(Invites the team up)
“I just really want to share this with my teammates. This has been an incredible year for me and for our team. And for me to come to a new situation and be accepted the way I have been by these guys and for us to form a bond of a team the way we have, it has been special. We know we have a lot of things to accomplish still and we are always trying to improve, but what we have done so far and with me being able to win this award, is a reflection of this group. Thanks fellas.”
(Teammates exit stage)
QUESTION: What goes through your mind when you think of the other players that have won this award, Jordan, Magic, Bird?
STEVE NASH: “Who does not belong I guess (laughs). It’s incredible, I’m there with my heroes and like Jerry said, it has been a long road for me and I feel really proud to accomplish this as playing as a team, and just trying to be a good teammate. That is the only way for me to highlight what I do as a basketball player and I’m just excited to be mentioned with all those great names.”
QUESTION: Talk about what it means for your country Canada.
STEVE NASH: Well, I heard everyone is pretty fired up and that is exciting for me. Obviously being a proud Canadian, there has been a lot of great accomplishments by Canadians over the years so again just to be recognized as one of those accomplishments is incredible for me. Hopefully, at the same time, just as incredible for everyone back home to be proud and get excited about.”
QUESTION: How do you inspire yourself, now that you have won the pinnacle of individual awards, will that be a great challenge now?
STEVE NASH: “Yes, especially if we win the championship. I going to have to take some money and get on a boat and sail away (laughs), but I think that is the great thing about this sport, is that it gives me a place to challenge myself and it is something to test myself with. Every summer I try to get better and every season I try to improve as well. Even though this is the pinnacle, as far as an individual award, there is so much to accomplish individually and as a team going forward there is always new ways to challenge yourself.”
QUESTION: Growing up in a country that is so obsessed with hockey, how improbable or unlikely is your accomplishment?
STEVE NASH: “I guess it is an incredible oddity in many ways. I mean for my neighborhood we didn’t have any NBA players and I was offered one scholarship and obviously hockey is first, second and third story in our country so to be here is very unlikely, but at the same time I think that makes it a great accomplishment for me to cherish and there were a lot of obstacles just to be a professional basketball player.”
QUESTION: How much sweeter does it make it to know you were drafted as a back up point guard and the journey you took?
STEVE NASH: “I was a late bloomer in many ways. I wasn’t the most recruited or a lottery pick. I always try to make goals for myself and have my own time frame to accomplish them and to not give up on anything, keep going for it, keep trying to improve and keep trying to find new ways to inspire myself to improve. I think that is a big part of it because I think if you lose your inspiration it is really difficult to keep improving. It has been difficult, there has been a lot of obstacles to overcome, but that is the fun of it to. That is the most enjoyable part is trying to challenge yourself and overcome it.”
QUESTION: Is there any coaches or anyone you flash back on in the last couple of days that you would like to thank?
STEVE NASH: “Everybody who has been a part of my life in some way or another is deserving of some credit of this. I certainly couldn’t have done this alone, obviously my teammates played the biggest role, my coaches, my trainers. All of my coaches and teammates of the past, my family and my friends. Everybody has played a huge role and it is not lost on me. I know how fortunate I am to have played with so many great players, coaches and learned so much and to have a terrific family an a great group of friends that are very supportive.”
MCCOY: Thank you very much and Steve just one more question, will you join us in six weeks to lead the parade.
MCCOY: Congratulations, Steve Nash, MVP of the NBA!