He chose the Lakers. Really? Of all teams, he chose the god damn Lakers. I can understand not wanting to go to the Raptors or the Knicks, but the Lakers? Dating back to the 1970’s, the Suns and Lakers have been bitter rivals. From Wilt Chamberlain and Connie Hawkins to Kobe and Raja Bell, the two franchises have always hated each other. More recently, the Kobe-era Lakers and Nash-era Suns have had their share of playoff grudge matches over the past decade. Suns-Lakers will go down as one of the great rivalries of the 2000’s, rivaling Spurs-Lakers, Celtics-Lakers and Nuggets-Lakers. Notice how all those rivalries feature the gold and purple uniformed squad that calls the Staples Center “home”. The Los Angeles Lakers are the New York Yankees of pro basketball. Nobody goes “the Lakers are okay. I don’t really care about them one way or the either.” You either love them or you despise them; there’s no in-between.
I loathe the Los Angeles Lakers. Their dirty play, bandwagon fair-weathered fans and sheer arrogance make them the most hatable team in pro basketball. They are the crux of all that is evil within the NBA universe. You would think Steve Nash would feel the same way, since you know… he went to combat against them in the playoffs time and time again. But no, it seems that Steve Nash isn’t the guy that we thought he was. Nash is not the loyal, old-school man that we thought he was. In leaving Phoenix for the hated Lakers, Nash thrusted a dagger through the hearts of a passionate Suns fan-base. The same fan base that embraced him after Dallas exiled him is now reeling after Nash’s stunning Wednesday decision.
To put this in perspective, this is the face of a franchise leaving to join an bitter rival. This is like if Patrick Ewing had left the Knicks late in his career to join the Bulls. This is like if Dwayne Wade decided to pack it in and head to Boston. NBA Superstars just don’t do this. I get that Nash is 38 years of age, but he’s still producing at a high level. He’s not Juwan Howard chasing rings as the 15th guy on the bench. Steve Nash is a difference maker and he chose to bring his talents to the evil empire in Los Angeles.
Don’t blame the Lakers for this. This is not a case of them using their inordinate supply of money to buy a superstar. They had a trade exception, from the Lamar Odom meltdown of last offseason, and they used it accordingly. Los Angeles saved their draft picks as assets, unlike some other teams I know of *cough Knicks cough* and used those assets to bring in a superstar. This was a savvy basketball move by Mitch Kupchak and the Los Angeles Lakers. Don’t blame the Suns front office either. They obviously didn’t want to send Nash to a division rival, much less the Lakers. This one is on Nash.
My anger has nothing to do with the fact that he didn’t choose New York. I thought Toronto was the best place for him anyways, but Nash’s decision was beyond iniquitous in my opinion. If he was chasing rings, there were other suitors that would have had him. He could have taken his mastery of the pick and roll to Dallas to rejoin Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. He could have followed the lead of LeBron James and taken his talents to the world champion Miami Heat. This was a selfish move by Steve Nash.
He is using his children, who live with Nash’s former wife in Phoenix, as his reasoning for joining the rival Lakers, but I don’t buy that for a second. Is Nash a family man? Probably. But he decided to join the Lakers to save himself 4 hours on each plane ride to Phoenix? I don’t believe that at all. This move is about Nash’s want to be in Los Angeles. He has already ingratiated himself with the communities of New York and Toronto. I believe Nash wanted to integrate himself into the Los Angeles world. In doing so, Nash will have opportunities to make money in three of North America’s largest markets; Toronto, New York and Los Angeles. This was a business decision for Nash.
We knew Nash wasn’t chasing a ring, hell the Lakers aren’t even in position to win a ring as even with Nash they’re not better than Oklahoma City. He was considering taking the money and running up to Toronto. He wanted the Knicks to find a way to pay him more money. This decision wasn’t about his children. This was a selfish, gutless, money-based decision. In Los Angeles, Nash will have the ability to network himself in one of the biggest markets in the world. Post-basketball, Nash will be in great financial shape. But nobody cares about Nash’s post basketball career, this is about the present. Steve Nash sliced the insides out of a Phoenix fan base that has stuck with that team through decades of disappointment. Phoenix Suns fans will have to deal with the face of their franchise, arguably their all time greatest player, dawning the hated gold and purple of Los Angeles. In a decision that rivals what we experienced with LeBron James just two off-seasons ago, Steve Nash turned to the dark side on Wednesday evening. Steve Nash “LeBron-ed” the Suns, except that this is so much worse. Seeing Nash in the hated purple and gold will make most in the NBA world sick, and it absolutely should. They say that money is the root of all evil. In the case of Steve Nash, that saying has never been more true.
Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino