Nash joins Nets as Head Coach and causes a stir
The Brooklyn Nets appointed respected two-time MVP Steve Nash as the head coach of the team ahead of the 2020-21 season. It is an announcement that has raised a few eyebrows as it has come from left field. Nash has no coaching experience and Brooklyn have finally constructed a team that could potentially challenge for the NBA title with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving part of their starting five. Much has been made of the Nets giving him the chance to take on the team as the Head Coach without any coaching pedigree. Many African-American basketball commentators have called his appointment a form of ‘White Privilege’. There has been a storm around his appointment and that has raised some important questions about the process of selecting full-time head coaches. The Nets have shrugged off any reservations about Nash’s suitability and have welcomed him into the fold.
“After meeting with a number of highly accomplished coaching candidates from diverse backgrounds, we knew we had a difficult decision to make,” said General Manager Sean Marks. “In Steve we see a leader, communicator and mentor who will garner the respect of our players. I have had the privilege to know Steve for many years. One of the great on-court leaders in our game, I have witnessed first-hand his basketball acumen and selfless approach to prioritize team success. His instincts for the game, combined with an inherent ability to communicate with and unite players towards a common goal, will prepare us to compete at the highest levels of the league. We are excited to welcome Steve, Lilla, Lola, Bella, Matteo, Luca and Ruby to Brooklyn.”
In addition, the team announced that Jacque Vaughn will return to Brooklyn as lead assistant coach. “We are thrilled to retain Jacque as a leading member of our coaching staff,” continued Marks. “Jacque has been an integral part of our program and a key contributor to the growth and development of our entire organization. His role in developing our players both on and off the court and his influence driving our culture have been invaluable. Our players will benefit from the continuity of Jacque’s presence, and we are extremely fortunate to keep him in our Nets family.”
Nash joins the Nets following five seasons as a player development consultant with the Golden State Warriors, where he contributed to two NBA Championship teams and made four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. “We are excited to welcome Steve to the Nets family and look forward to a successful and meaningful partnership,” said Nets Governor Joe Tsai. “Steve shares our vision for the future of this franchise and his character exemplifies the core principles of our organization in working to serve our communities. I can’t wait for Steve to get started.” Nash was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and having grown up in Victoria, British Columbia, Nash is one of the most accomplished figures in Canadian basketball history. He was a member of Team Canada from 1993-2004 and served as general manager for the senior national team from 2012-19. Nash played collegiately for four seasons at Santa Clara University prior to being selected 15th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft.
Nash’s credentials as a player are not in question as they make for intriguing reading. He is an eight-time NBA All-Star, played 18 seasons with the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. He won back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006 while playing for the Suns, becoming just the 10th player in NBA history to win the award in consecutive seasons. Nash was named to All-NBA teams seven times throughout his career, earning first-team honours three times (2005-07), while twice being named to the second (2008, 2010) and third teams (2002, 2003). A five-time assist champion, Nash currently ranks third in NBA history with 10,335 career assists. The culmination of his brilliant playing career came in 2018 when Nash was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “I am honoured to have this opportunity with such a first-class organization and would like to thank Sean, Joe and his wife, Clara, for having faith in my ability to lead this team forward,” said Nash. “Coaching is something I knew I wanted to pursue when the time was right, and I am humbled to be able to work with the outstanding group of players and staff we have here in Brooklyn. I am as excited about the prospects of the team on the court as I am about moving to Brooklyn with my family and becoming impactful members of this community.”