Steph Curry is basically the “next” Steve Nash, and here’s the official passing of the torch moment.
One decade. 10 years. That’s how much more time on this earth Steve Nash has enjoyed than Jarrett Jack. Yesterday, in the Lakers first preseason game against Golden State, we saw what that 10 years means on a basketball court. And, well, for Jack, it wasn’t pretty.
At the risk of using hyperbole: this entire sequence is breathtaking. The way Paul controls a basketball as if there is no ball in his hands is remarkable. He dances around the court, going as fast or as slow as he thinks is best—making you believe he wants to get to the line one moment and then quickly stepping back between his legs and preferring a jumper the next. Sometimes we say people are too smart for their own good, that they have so many thoughts brewing in their head at once that the collision of separate ideas will cause them to outthink which one should be chosen. Something tells me we won’t be applying this saying to Chris Paul anytime soon.
At the behest of those who enjoy watching beautiful people doing beautiful things, Ben Wallace has announced he will retire at the end of this season. One of the hungriest underdogs to ever play basketball, Wallace hammered himself into a niche with unprecedented brute force, becoming known for much, much more than a scraggly afro.
He was respected, beloved, and, to some degree, feared. Wallace was a rare breed: SO good as a rebounding defensive presence and SO bad as an offensive threat. In his honor, I’ve decided to rank all the modern day one-dimensional players, with Ben Wallace in mind as the Godfather of them all. The league has very few players who’re equally effective on offense as they are on defense, but one doesn’t have to overshadow the other (for example, the 2008 Kevin Garnett tilted the entire league with his defensive intensity—it became apart of his identity as he forced the Celtics to keep up on their way to a championship—but it wasn’t like he struggled on offense); this list highlights 14 guys who excel on one end of the floor while leaving much to be desired on the other. Read more…
In the grand scheme of what’s altruistically important in life, I believe it’s fair to suggest all teachers, doctors, surgeons, and members of the armed forces should be given financial compensation of equal or greater value to that of which is awarded professional athletes. Their actual impact on human life is indisputably greater, more important, and further reaching. Of course, they don’t (and never will) because the businesses they’re in don’t create the billions upon billions of dollars in gross revenue that the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL produce on an annual basis. They also have an uncountable number of members in their labor force, making each worker’s slice of pie much smaller than that of the athlete. Call it sad. Call it unfair. Call it horribly disproportionate. Call it the real world. Read more…
Every player ages. Every player slows down. Every player retires. Every player expires. This was believed to be truth before Steve Nash. As of today, the Suns starting point guard is 37-years-old, and in the clip above, which took place in the 2010 playoffs, he crosses up a then 24-year-old point guard and a then 21-year-old power forward. But he doesn’t just cross them up, he befuddles them in every which way, blind-folding both youngsters and putting them on skates. Is Steve Nash the greatest 37-year-old basketball player who ever lived? Despite no statistical measures or analytical data to support the claim, the answer is a resounding yes.
Steve Nash is an amazing basketball player. Everyone knows this. He’s one of the most accurate shooters of all-time, he seems to acquire 10 assists simply by being on the court, and he makes every single player around him (opposing point guards included) appear better than they really are. Somehow, within the confines of two MVP awards and consummate respect from pretty much everyone involved in the sport, Nash’s handle has gone overlooked—an unspoken means to a reliable, stable end. This couldn’t be more from the truth. Over the next few days, Shaky Ankles will be uncovering some of his all-time great moves. While some might label them with a slightly derogatory tag of “crafty”, I’ll go so far as to say they’re downright extraordinary. What he does to Devin Harris in this move is lightning.
Sports Illustratred arrived in the mail yesterday. In it, Dan Patrick interviews basketball hero Larry Bird, asking him several general questions one would love to ask a Hall of Fame icon. Bird could shoot from wherever he wanted in the front court and make the type of passes that had you convinced another set of eyes were creeping through his long blonde hair. The way he competed each play, it was like the sport of basketball was 24 hours away from being outlawed in this country; it’s what made him such an incredible legend. As the interview is winding down, Patrick asks Bird if he’s the best shooter in NBA history. Bird deflects the praise: “I don’t know about that. Steve Nash is a great shooter. There’s a lot of them.”
Steve Nash. So glorious in his unprecedented mid-30′s prime, crossing up a younger, more elite point guard and still giving it up to a teammate in the end. Great shooter? Yes. Great (possibly still underrated) player? Even more so.