Steve Nash 

Steve Nash

by Paul Arseneault and Peter Assaff

Published by Heritage House

80 pages, 2006

Buy it online

 

 

Reaching High

Reviewed by Cherie Thiessen


Basketball fans of all ages will rate this slim read a three-pointer. With not an ounce of fat on it, it's lean, it looks good, it keeps its audience enthralled, and it never lets up. Several other books about Canada's super hero have been published, but as long as the Steve Nash story continues to unfold, there will be room for more.

Steve Nash by Paul Arseneault and Peter Assaff deals with Nash's career up to the 2006-07 season, ending with his trip to Europe with the Phoenix Suns to play a series of exhibition games prior to the new NBA season. What assists the book to score and keeps the pace moving are wonderful shots of Nash in action, from his teenage years to the present. Other photos show him with family, winding down, or relaxing. There's one shot in particular, of the star high-fiving a young basketball player during a break at the 2005 Steve Nash Foundation Charity Classic game in Toronto, that is unforgettable. It's one of those classic perfect photos that has probably made press photographer, Adrian Wyld, a happy man.

In addition to photos on every page, highlighted sidebars present salient facts: one outlines the origins of basketball in Canada, another details 13 highlights in the superstar's career, another records key stats during Nash's six years in Dallas, while yet another gives reactions to Steve's MVP win. Short, pithy chapters festooned with quotes from notables wind up the cool look. It's one of those books you can pick up, open to any page, and latch unto something interesting.

Only two years old when he came to Canada from South Africa, Nash went on to show basketball fans that it really wasn't all just about hockey in the land of the Canucks. A shortie in the basketball world, where seven-foot-plus players towered over Nash's mere six-foot-three-inches, the youth Victoria, British Columbia has adopted as their own was slow to be accepted south of the border.

Although he never averaged more than 20 points a game during his first 10 seasons in the league, Canadians loved him from the start. For the first time in over a century, a Canadian was behind some of those baskets. Booed by the Phoenix NBA fans when they heard that he was the Phoenix Suns' 15 overall pick, Nash just shrugged it off, commenting that he was glad to be in a passionate city.

I don't look like I'm going to be a tremendous basketball player on appearance…I probably would've booed myself too, but I'm going to be a really good player and I'm going to help the team a lot. I have a lot of faith in myself and hopefully they'll enjoy watching me play. They want to win and I wouldn't want fans who just sat back and didn't care.

While Nash's stature in the sport of giants may have had a little to do with it, it was probably the fans' disappointment that their team's first-round NBA draft pick hadn't come from one of the major colleges that really stirred them. Santa Clara University was definitely not considered first tier, even though this new player had led its team, the Broncos, to new victories. One wonders, however, how the stoic Canadian felt when two years later he was once again booed, after being traded to the Dallas Mavericks? The 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia where Nash led Canada to an 83-75 win over Yugoslavia, ended such responses, however, and made fans sit up and take notice.

The 13 short chapters in this feel-good story begin with Nash's early high school years and end with his charity work through the Steve Nash Foundation. Here's a player who not only walks his talk but pays for it too. Created in 2001 with a mandate to help those less fortunate, Nash's foundation has helped fund a hospital clinic in Paraguay, has underwritten a youth basketball league in Vancouver, Canada and has organized high profile charity basketball games.

The star also actively encourages and supports the growth of the sport among Canada's youth through the production of videos that assist keen players to hone their skills.

Author Assaff is a sports editor, a talk-show host and a veteran play-by-play sports announcer. New Brunswick-based Arsenault is a teacher, a basketball referee, and the author of Sidney Crosby: A Hockey Story. The authors conclude that
Steve Nash is living proof that nice guys can finish first. I like this idea. It doesn't happen nearly often enough. | March 2007

 

Cherie Thiessen has been a scriptwriter, playwright, creative writing instructor and -- for the past 10 years -- a travel writer and book reviewer. She was the review columnist for Focus on Women Magazine for eight years and has also written numerous reviews for magazines including Monday Magazine, Pacific Yachting, Cottage Magazine, The Driftwood News, Linnear Reflections and Douglas College's Event Magazine.