by Paul Arseneault and Peter Assaff
Published by Heritage House
80 pages, 2006
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.
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.
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 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.
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.