Rick Zamperin: Steve Nash is Brooklyn’s new head coach because he’s Steve Nash, period

Steve Nash has been named the 23rd head coach of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Steve Nash‘s resume speaks for itself.

Two-time NBA MVP. Eight-time NBA All-Star. Three-time All-NBA First-Team. And one of the slickest shooting and passing point guards of his generation.

On Thursday, we learned that the Brooklyn Nets had signed the Canadian basketball legend to a four-year contract to be the franchise’s 23rd head coach.

Read more: Canadian Steve Nash named head coach of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets

The news surprised many people around the league because while Nash was an incredible player in the NBA for 18 seasons, he does not have head coaching experience at any level of basketball.

ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith went as far to say that while he thinks Nash will fare well in Brooklyn, his hiring is another example of “white privilege,” adding that “this does not happen for a Black man.”

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“No experience whatsoever on any level as a coach, and you get the Brooklyn Nets job?” questioned Smith.

Smith makes a valid point, especially with a multitude of seasoned Black assistant coaches who are waiting for a shot at a head coaching gig in the NBA.

But whether he has forgotten, or whether it is selective memory at play, Smith left out the fact that Jason Kidd was named the head coach in Brooklyn soon after he retired as a player in 2013. And the New York Knicks hired Derek Fisher as their head coach weeks after he played his last game in the league in 2014.

It was the first coaching job of any kind for both Kidd and Fisher, and they are both Black.

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With all due respect to Smith, I don’t think Steve Nash is the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets because of ‘white privilege’ or systemic racism.

Nash has a great relationship with Brooklyn superstar Kevin Durant going back to their days with the Golden State Warriors and is a highly regarded NBA alumni.

It’s plain and simple, at least to me.

Steve Nash is the Brooklyn Nets’ head coach because he is Steve Nash, who just happens to be a white man.

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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