Few know basketball like Jerry Colangelo.
Few played basketball like Steve Nash.
Naturally, it was so nice they had to do it twice.
Colangelo watched as the bright-eyed Canadian rookie morphed into a shaggy-haired two-time MVP and while Nash never helped the Phoenix Suns reach the pinnacle of a championship, he guided the franchise back into the NBA mainstream and “made basketball fun again” as their slogan dictated a decade ago.
Two different stints in two different eras.
Early Nash was able to find his footing with the Suns, serving as the understudy two other legendary point guards.
“He actually went to graduate school in practice against Kevin [Johnson] and against Jason [Kidd],” Colangelo told Sports360AZ.com in a phone interview Monday morning.
Due to the backcourt log-jam the Suns would deal Nash to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for a first-round pick which turned out to be Shawn Marion. After a rough start with the Mavs Nash’s game began to thrive. Colangelo, new owner Robert Sarver and other Phoenix executives hopped on a plane in the summer of 2004 and brought Nash back to the Valley.
The “Seven Seconds or Less” era was born.
“Those were some great years for Steve Nash,” Colangelo said. “He blossomed into the player he was meant to be while he was in Phoenix.”
Now with his retirement official, it’s only fitting sports bars top discussion is where does Nash rank among the franchise’s elite players?
“Because of his longevity, because of his performance,” Colangelo detailed. “The fact that he won a couple of MVP’s. The fact that, I think, finished third in assists in the history of the NBA. He has a great opportunity to be a hall-of-famer. That in itself, would set him apart from some of the other great Suns if that were to happen…we haven’t had that many hall-of-famers coming out of Phoenix thus far.”