Sixteen seasons in the league, 38 years on the calendar and Steve Nash remains the kid who can’t sit still. As his Phoenix Suns teammates gather outside their dressing room in the hall of US Airways Arena, Nash sprints furiously in place, pumping his size 13 low-cut (old-school) Nikes like pistons, his hands slicing the air, looking about as impressive as you can without going anywhere. He beckons his teammates around and they come, a motley crew of journeymen and roster filler, all younger, save for fellow NBA senior citizen Grant Hill. None of them are as accomplished. Not even close. If and when the time comes for Nash to bolt from the desert, chances are he’ll look back at who he played with and go: “Really? I spent two years trying to get them into the playoffs?”
This is what Nash calls a “professional night”—an occasion when the opponent and the stakes and the crowd don’t quite stir the blood, but duty calls. “Fifteen on the clickity,” he shouts, referring to the countdown to game time. The mismatched Suns raise their hands: “1-2-3,” he says. “Suns” comes the answer. And on cue Nash is all forward motion, racing down the hall and up the tunnel to the court just as he has hundreds of nights before as the franchise favourite.