Nash hoping for quick end to NBA labour dispute

Photograph by: Christian Petersen, Getty Images
VICTORIA — Steve Nash of Victoria, 37, may not have too many seasons remaining in the National Basketball Association so he would just as soon spend them on the floor and not embroiled in labour disputes.

Eight days remain before a potential lockout, with the NBA team owners wanting a sort of NHL-type salary cap.

“This happens every time the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) comes up. Any negotiation is difficult but hopefully this can be resolved over the next eight days,” said Nash, in web news conference ahead of his Showdown in Chinatown charity soccer game Wednesday evening in New York City.

“We also have three months before the season begins. We have a great thing going and we don’t need to jeopardize or alienate our fans.”

Nash has never taken his rare status for granted.

“At 37 years old, Steve is still running and diving for balls in practice and putting in the work,” said Phoenix Suns teammate Marcin Gortat, a native of Poland and one of the Showdown soccer game participants.

“You have so many kids in the league (NBA) who are about to be superstars and this 37-year-old player is putting in so much more. The young kids have to chase Steve.”

Lon Babby, Suns president of basketball operations, later Wednesday told the Arizona Republic newspaper that Phoenix will not be trading Nash or Gortat. The two-time NBA MVP Nash, who has one season remaining on his contract with the Suns, was pressed about the possibility of finishing his career in his homeland with the Toronto Raptors.

“That’s a tough question for me,” he said .

“Given I feel a loyalty to the team (Suns) and community of Phoenix. That’s all I’m thinking about at the moment. I don’t plan on leaving. I have plans of getting them (Suns) back into the playoffs and again contending for a championship. But Toronto would be amazing . . . and to be at home in Canada. To (hypothetically) be part of their (Raptors) future success would be great.”

The potential eventuality of the Raptors or not, Nash hardly needs to prove his Canadian credentials.

The 2000 Sydney Summer Olympian as national basketball team captain, Nash said being one of four Canadian athletes selected to light the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics cauldron during the opening ceremonies last year in his home province was “probably the greatest moment of my sports career.”

Nash, who made the documentary Into the Wind about the late Canadian one-legged cancer fundraising legend Terry Fox, said he was saddened to hear about the death last week of Fox’s mother Betty, whom Nash interviewed extensively for the film.

“Betty’s passing was sad for all us Canadians,” said Nash.

“Terry was my hero growing up, as he was for many Canadians.”

The centrepiece of Nash’s own charity fundraising efforts, through the children-focused Steve Nash Foundation, is the annual Showdown in Chinatown match in which NBA players try their skills at the beautiful game against soccer pros.

“I’ve always loved kids,” said Nash, the father of three.

“They are so impressionable and helpless in many ways and need our support. I want to help them.”

Victoria Times Colonist

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