WATCH: Steve Nash is undoubtedly the greatest basketball player Canada has ever produced, and one of the best sporting stories this country has ever seen. But after 19 seasons with the NBA, Nash has announced his retirement. Mike Drolet reports on how Nash achieved extraordinary success against overwhelming odds.
Steve Nash held a press conference in Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon to discuss recent retirement from basketball to the media.
During the press conference at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, Nash reflected on his basketball legacy.
“I simply want people to remember me as a competitor and a great teammate,” said Nash. “That’s it. Those are the two most important things.”
Nash, 41, was expected to retire after the Los Angeles Lakers announced in October that he would miss the entire 2014-15 NBA season with a back injury. Nash played in three preseason games before straining his back while carrying bags.
Nash was limited to just 65 games over the last three years since signing with L.A.
On Tuesday, he talked about the physical toll of his 19 seasons in the NBA.
“In some ways my body is relieved not to keep pounding away at it,” he said.
Nash officially announced he retired from the NBA on Saturday. The two-time NBA MVP, who grew up in Victoria, B.C. made the announcement in a blog post that began with the words “I’m retiring.”
“I will likely never play basketball again,” wrote Nash. “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.”
In his farewell letter, Nash thanked several people, including Ken Shields and Jay Triano, who coached him on Canada’s national team, and high school coach Ian Hyde-Lay.
ARCHIVES: In the days before the 1996 NBA draft, Canada’s Steve Nash hopes he’ll be drafted by the Vancouver Grizzlies. Aired June 25, 1996.
Nash is the greatest player in Canadian history and one of the most complete offensive guards of his generation.
He is third on the NBA’s career assists list, trailing only John Stockton and Jason Kidd. Nash also is the most accurate free-throw shooter in NBA history, barely edging Mark Price’s career mark at 90.4 per cent.
Nash won two MVP awards with the Phoenix Suns while leading one of the most dynamic offences in NBA history. His playmaking and scoring abilities have earned him worldwide recognition and eight All-Star game selections.
WATCH: A look at Steve Nash’s journey from high school star to NBA MVP. From May 6, 2005.
Nash grew up in Victoria, where he played high school basketball for St. Michaels University School, leading the team to a 1992 AAA provincial championship. Throughout an NBA career that spanned nearly two decades, Nash maintained ties to B.C., having an ownership stake in the Vancouver Whitecaps of the MLS and a chain of fitness clubs that bear his name.
He also sponsored the Steve Nash Youth Basketball initiative, which has helped developed a generation of basketball talent in B.C.
READ MORE: Why is Canada suddenly good at basketball?
Nash has also inspired the current crop of Canadian NBA players such as Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Kelly Olynk and current NBA Rookie of the Year candidate Andrew Wiggins, a player who could someday match Nash’s impressive accomplishments.
“I was about to say that we won’t see a time when we’ll see another Canadian win back-to-back MVP awards,” says Tomlinson. “But then I flash forward to Andrew Wiggins and everyone else and I think, you know what, that’s a possibility. ”
Several athletes took to Twitter to pay tribute to Nash’s career:
Kyle Lowry – Toronto Raptors
Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors
Willie Mitchell – Florida Panthers
Tristan Thompson – Cleveland Cavaliers
Joakim Noah – Chicago Bulls
Goran Dragic – Miami Heat
-with files from Canadian Press