After eight years of entertaining the crowds of the US Airways Center , Steve Nash returned to Phoenix last night, but not in a Suns’ uniform. Nash headed to the visitor’s locker room with the rest of his new Laker’s teammates.
He had done this once before. Nash was drafted number 15 by Phoenix in 1996 and left after two years to go to the Dallas Mavericks, but he didn’t accomplish as much in those two years as he did in the eight after returning in 2004. In his eight years, Nash led the Suns to the playoffs five times, the Western Conference Finals three times, and won two Most Valuable Player awards.
While the Lakers played the Suns earlier in Los Angeles, Nash was injured and didn’t get to face his former team until last night. Nash contributed with 11 points and two assists, but was mostly quiet as the Lakers fell 92-86.
The Suns’ faithful, though, were anything but quiet. During player introductions, Steve was greeted by cheers and boos, but it was during a first quarter timeout when they really showed how they felt. The fans waved Canadian flags, “We love Steve Nash” signs were filtered throughout the arena, and a video tribute to the song “Coming Home” captured some of Nash’s greatest moments as a Sun, and some ridiculous hair styles as well.
Nash couldn’t have been happier with the tribute he told Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“It was a great reception; obviously this is a very special place for me,” Nash told ESPN. “To be in front of these incredible fans — I’m very grateful for the reception but also for my time here, which was the best years of my life.”
When asked about the video tribute, Nash said, “Very flattering and very sweet of the organization. It was very kind of them.”
The Lakers may not have signed the player capable of another MVP season like the two he had in Phoenix, but Nash is one of the most respected players in the league and last night we all saw just how true that is.