Nash, the league's oldest active player at 40, has appeared in just 10 games this season while dealing with ongoing back and nerve injuries. Although some fans and media members think Nash should simply retire, the two-time MVP plans to continue his fight to return to the court next season so that he can claim the financial compensation owed to him during the final year of his contract. "It's just a reality," Nash said. "I'm not going to retire because I want the money. It's honest. We want honest athletes, but at the same time, you're going to have people out there saying 'He's so greedy. He's made x amount of money and he has to take this last little bit.' Yes, I do, have to take that last little bit. I'm sorry if that is frustrating to some but if they were in my shoes they would do exactly the same thing. I wouldn't believe for a minute that they wouldn't."
The two-time NBA MVP was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on Feb. 7, 1974. His father played professional soccer and the family lived in a number of places before setting in Victoria City near Vancouver.
Like most Canadian boys, Nash quickly fell in love with hockey. His favorite team was the Vancouver Canucks and his favorite player was Wayne Gretzky. He also played lacrosse and rugby, but didn't discover basketball until the eighth grade.
Though he was one of the top basketball players in Canada, Nash was not highly regarded as a recruit. The only scholarship offer he received was to Santa Clara, on the condition that Nash improve his suspect defense.
Nash was an immediate hit on the court, leading Santa Clara to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years. The No. 15 Broncos upset Arizona in the first round before losing to Temple the following game. Despite the loss, Nash had Santa Clara on the national radar. He would lead the team to two more tournament appearances over the next three years as he garnered a reputation as one of the nation's top point guards.
Nash was selected by Phoenix with the 15th pick in the first round. He was considered the best pure point guard in the draft, compared to the natural scorers like Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury, who were also listed at the position.
Nash also competed for the Canadian National Team, culminating in the team's appearance at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. He also captained the team in 2004, but it did not qualify for an Olympic spot. In this photo, Nash drives around Cuba's Yudi Abreu during a Tournament of the Americas game in Montevideo, Uruguay.
After two mediocre seasons in Phoenix, Nash was traded to Dallas for Martin Muursepp, Bubba Wells, Pat Garrity and a first-round draft pick. The Mavs struggled at first, but the drafting of Dirk Nowitzki and the acquisition of Michael Finley and Juwan Howard turned the Mavericks into contenders. The person with the biggest impact on Dallas' success was Mark Cuban, who purchased the team in 2000 and instantly turned them into contenders.
Under Cuban (second from left), the Mavs capitalized on the NBA's growth in international players including Eduardo Najera (Mexico), Wang Zhizhi (China), Steve Nash (Canada), Tariq Abdul-Wahad (France) and Dirk Nowitzki (Germany).
Nash poses with the Western Conference All-Stars during the NBA's 2002 All-Star Weekend in Philadelphia. The point guard dished out nine assists in the team's 135-120 triumph.
Nash and then-Mavericks teammate Dirk Nowitzki take in an April 2003 Rangers game. The two made quite the tandem that year, with Nash averaging 17.7 points and 7.3 assists per game and Nowitzki racking up 25.1 points per game. Dallas advanced to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the San Antonio Spurs.
Nash shows off his soccer skills as Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum looks on.
Established as one of the most unselfish players in the league, Nash received some hardware of his own in 2005. Jerry Colangelo presents him with the MVP Trophy, the first of two consecutive seasons he'd bring home the award.
Nash squats to high-five one of his young admirers during a charity basketball event in 2005. He continues to be a fan-favorite, as he's been named to the All-Star Game seven times.
Never the tallest player in the NBA, the 6-foot-3 Nash looked shorter than ever when stationed next to the 7-foot-5 Yao Ming. Luckily, he's usually asked to guard Aaron Brooks and not the Chinese standout when Phoenix takes on Western Conference foe Houston.
The view from above as Nash brings up the ball against Devin Harris and the Mavericks.
Taking in another baseball game, Nash watches the Yankees play the Red Sox in 2008. He's an avid fan of baseball, soccer and hockey in addition to the NBA.
Nash celebrates with Thierry Henry during the Showdown in Chinatown celebrity soccer match in New York City in 2008. A multi-sport talent, Nash also put his soccer skills on display during the 2005 Slam Dunk contest, heading a pass to Amare Stoudemire to spark a spectacular jam.
A celebrity off the court as well as on it, a sharply-dressed Nash takes a photo with wife Alejandra Amarilla. The couple has three children together, including their latest, Matteo, who was born on Nov. 12, 2010. They announced their divorce just one day after his birth.
Nash's versatility extends beyond the court, as he served as a reporter for the Late Show with David Letterman before a 2009 Finals game between the Magic and Lakers. Here, his interview subject is Jeff Van Gundy.
The first NBA player ever to carry the Olympic Torch, Nash hoists the flame during the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Vancouver Games. He helped light the cauldron with fellow countrymen Wayne Gretzky, Nancy Greene and Catriona Lemay Doan.
Known for his gritty play, Nash broke his nose in the 2010 Western Conference Finals after he was head-butted by a charging Derek Fisher. Toughened by his childhood as hockey player in Canada, he shook off the injury, then proceeded to shake off the Lakers. Phoenix cruised to a 118-109 in Game 3.
Holding his twin daughters Lola and Bella, Nash takes a picture after the World Cup Final in 2010. The girls were born on Oct. 14, 2004.
Nash smiles for the camera with Ezra Holland before the premiere of their movie Into the Wind in 2010. The story, Nash's filmmaking debut, details the tale of Terry Fox, a marathon runner trying to raise cancer awareness. It was featured in ESPN's 30 for 30 campaign.
A dynamic duo, Nash and Amare Stoudemire share an embrace during Game 2 of the 2010 Western Conference Finals. The Suns would drop the contest 124-112, but would stun the Lakers for victories in Games 3 and 4 to even the series at two. They suffered hard-fought losses in Games 5 and 6, though, as Los Angeles went on to claim a repeat NBA title.
Phoenix Suns teammates pose with some groceries during this SI shoot, prior to each player's last season with the team. Hill would join the Clippers for his final season, while Nash would sign with the Lakers, after which HIll said in regards to Nash, "That's like transferring from Duke and going to Carolina."
Howard has some fun with Nash during this SI photo shoot, prior to both players first season with the Los Angeles Lakers.