Sports Illustrated Profiles Steve Nash

Jack McCallum wrote a big Steve Nash article that's in the current Sports Illustrated. I sat down to read it with my highlighter (such is the life of an NBA blogger). But I didn't highlight much. Cutting edge journalism, this is not. 95% of it is stuff that has been reported before or could be observed from watching him play on TV.

Here is the other 5% in three passages. First the news that he has a rare condition that makes him wiggle all the time:

When standing, Nash is never still. He flexes his knees, wiggles his toes, stretches his neck, bobs his head, skips in place like a boxer. (You should see him jump rope.) He does it partly because, as assistant coach Dan D'Antoni, Mike's older brother, says, "Steve's got ants in his pants," but also because he has spondylolisthesis, a condition in which a vertebra slips over the one below it, causing muscle tightness and back pain. Nash lives in fear of stiffening up. Conversely, when he must be at rest, such as on the bench or looking at film, he lies supine, his head supported by a ball or a rolled-up towel, so he can see what's going on.

For some reason, I'm always fascinated to learn about different players' political leanings (Greg Anthony, for instance, was a Young Republican at UNLV) and the article satisfies with news of that kind of stuff:

At the time, Nash was perceived by his peers as a curiosity as much as an All-Star point guard. There were his off-season, see-the-world jaunts ("I wasn't staying in five-star hotels," he says, "but I didn't do the Europe-on-$20-a-day thing either"); his allegiance to Tottenham Hotspur, the Premier League soccer team in north London that Nashes have been following for generations; his choice of reading material, including The Communist Manifesto ("I just wanted to learn something about it"); and the T-shirt, no war: shoot for peace, that he wore to a press conference in Atlanta for the 2003 All-Star Game. Nash took a lot of heat for that shirt back in Texas, "the reddest of the red states," as he puts it. "But I got a lot of positive feedback too, and I don't regret it. I'd do it again if the occasion arose. The idea was to get people talking, and that's what happened, even if I was the target."

Among friends and teammates, Nash is not particularly outspoken. He will talk politics in the locker room, usually with the like-minded Bell, but it's not as if he shows up every day wearing an antiwar T-shirt. Still, politically, he goes left most of the time. "My upbringing certainly affected what I became and how I think and look at the world," says Nash.

The article concludes with the recipe for Steve Nash's success:

"Most guys somewhere along the line will meet an obstacle they aren't willing to clear," he says, "whether it's shooting or dribbling or something off the court, like girls or partying. They will not keep on going. I kept on going."