The Suns inducted Steve Nash into the organization’s Ring of Honor on Friday, a recognition bestowed upon influential front-office executives, coaches and players throughout the team’s history. Nash, who formally announced his retirement in March at 41, was honored at halftime of Phoenix’s 110–92 home victory over Portland.
The two-time MVP and future Hall of Famer joined former Suns players Alvin Adams, Charles Barkley, Tom Chambers, Water Davis, Connie Hawkins, Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle, Dick Van Arsdale and Paul Westphal as Ring of Honor members. Nash was drafted by the Suns in ’96 and spent two seasons in Phoenix before he was traded to the Mavericks. He later returned in ’04 and guided the “Seven Seconds or Less” Suns to the Western Conference finals three times before he was traded to the Lakers in ’12. All told, Nash ranked third in games played, first in assists and seventh in points in Suns franchise history.
The Ring of Honor ceremony was highlighted by a speech from Nash, who joked that he was given “a lot of drinks” as soon as he received the microphone. He went on to thank former coaches Mike D’Antoni and Alvin Gentry, his parents, his children, his former Suns teammates, and the Suns’ well-regarded training staff.
“I love being a part of a team,” Nash said. “I love being a teammate. I love building something. I love putting the pieces together. I love thinking, ‘I’m not very good at this, but I am good at this, so what can I do to help you be better at this.’ Trying to find a way to make it all work, to encourage and support and be creative and try to figure out how to make this thing better than it looks. My teammates were amazing, they were incredible.”
A banner bearing Nash’s last name, his face and his jersey No. 13 was unveiled by the Suns’ Gorilla mascot at the conclusion of Nash’s speech, which ran 13 minutes long and delayed the start of the second half.
Some of Nash’s other notable lines included ...
On his mother: “She is tough as nails. ... I could never p--- out on anything because I know my mom would give me the side eye.”
On his young children: “I wish they could have seen me do my thing. But they’ll have to go to YouTube.”
On his teammates: “When people ask me about my career and what I remember, I remember the locker room, the plane, the cold tub, the weight room, the bus, dinners on the road. That’s what I remember. I don’t remember the baskets or the series.”
On the Suns’ training staff: "They took care of me day after day after day. ... I wanted to punch their lights out every five seconds but at the same time wanted to hug them the next minute. They took amazing care of me and I’m so grateful. They’re teammates.”
On the Suns’ fans: “I feel like I’m in my living room right now. ... The biggest thing I want to say is that you guys are the best. The fans you supported me, loved me, we went through bad times together, great times together. It’s incredible to think you guys up there on the top shelf, you couldn’t even tell what my number was, you would come out every game, the arena was always sold out, it was always loud, you’d always be in jerseys. For you guys to make that commitment, I will never, ever, ever be able to tell you how much that meant to me. You really touched me.”
On his fellow Ring of Honor members: “Squad! ... I think of them like my idols.”
On Charles Barkley: “I’m not as good of a speechmaker as the Chuckster. I wasn’t as good of a basketball player as the Chuckster either.”
On his lasting friendships: “I had incredible friends that supported me and were there for me. They would come and watch me play all over the place, get in fights with fans in other arenas. They really motivated me. Two of my buddies were flying to Sacramento to see this playoff series, and they were going to get really drunk and cause a lot of problems. I appreciated that.”