Trace Steve Nash’s unlikely rise from skinny Victoria kid to one of the greatest basketball players of all-time and one thing becomes clear. The common thread at every stage is some aspect of giving, whether selflessly setting up an NBA teammate for yet another easy bucket or leading the Steve Nash Foundation that has raised over $650,000 for under-serviced BC children.

It began playing soccer in his Victoria backyard with his dad John, who encouraged young Nash and brother Martin to look for each other, taking the ball off them when they played selfishly. In his senior year at St. Michael’s University School, Nash averaged nearly a triple double and led the Blue Jags to the provincial championship.

Attracting little US university attention, Nash took the only scholarship offer available to California’s tiny Santa Clara University. In his first year, he propelled the #15-ranked Broncos to victory over #2 Arizona in one of the NCAA tournaments great upsets.

Drafted 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 1996 NBA Draft, Nash developed into one of the finest shooters and playmakers in NBA history over an 18-season career with Phoenix, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Named an NBA All-Star eight times, he led the league in assists five times and recorded career averages of 14.3 points and 6.7 assists in 1217 regular season games.

Internationally, Nash led Team Canada for over a decade, highlighted by captaining Canada on a dramatic run to the quarterfinals of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Canada’s first Olympic berth in 12 years. Nine years after departing the national scene, he returned in 2012 as the Canadian men’s team general manager.

His career highlight came in 2005 when he became the first Canadian to win the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the NBA’s MVP. Winning this award a second time in 2006 further cemented his place as one of Canada’s all-time greatest athletes. Nash joined a select list of repeat NBA MVP award winners that includes Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. Nash also received the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year in 2005 and was a three-time Lionel Conacher Award recipient as Canadian male athlete of the year. TIME magazine named him one of the ‘100 People Transforming the World’.

Ultimately, Phoenix’s up-tempo offense changed the way the game is played and Stephen Curry cites Nash as one of his foremost influences today. It’s no coincidence that Canada’s greatest generation of players has followed in Nash’s wake.

Since 2004, Nash has supported the Steve Nash Youth Basketball program across Canada reaching over 15,000 participants. He is a co-owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps, a chain of health and fitness clubs, and a film company that produced ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary on Terry Fox Into the Wind.

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.