Nash, maestro of frenetic Suns, enters Ring of Honor
PHOENIX (AP) Steve Nash was the maestro of a frenetic basketball symphony with the Phoenix Suns.
Over a six-year span, from 2004-05 to 2009-10, his Suns reached the Western Conference finals three times and Nash was twice selected league MVP.
Those teams never won an NBA title, or even reached the Finals, but they ushered in a high-speed, high-energy style that in many ways transformed the game. The reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors can trace their lineage to the desert.
On Friday night, the Suns inducted the prolific playmaker as the 14th member of the franchise's Ring of Honor, joining the likes of Charles Barkley, Tom Chambers, Walter Davis and Connie Hawkins.
His parents, children and extended family members watched as Nash thanked the fans and dozens of people in the organization by name in a long, unprepared speech after which, he said, ''They gave me a lot of drinks for the last two hours.''
Barkley, among the Ring of Honor members in attendance, got a big hug from Nash.
The fans cheered throughout as people from the franchise's better days were introduced. The biggest cheers came when Nash thanked the fans.
''I'll never ever be able to repay you or thank you for that type of support,'' he said.
Overall, Nash spent 10 seasons over two stints in Phoenix. The team hasn't made the playoffs since his 2009-10 Suns reached the conference finals.
Phoenix drafted him 15th overall out of Santa Clara but, with a surplus of point guards (Kevin Johnson and Jason Kidd), the Suns traded Nash to Dallas after two seasons..
When Nash became a free agent, then-owner Jerry Colangelo flew an entourage to Dallas to entice the point guard to come back to Arizona.
Speaking at the halftime ceremony, Colangelo noted he was chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame committee.
''I'm going to say without question you will be a first-ballot selection,'' he said.
Mike D'Antoni coached Nash for four of his most successful seasons, including back-to-back MVP years.
''Steve is a great basketball player,'' D'Antoni said. ''But more importantly Steve, you're a good man. I'm honored to have coached Steve for four years, but I'm more than honored to be his friend.''
Earlier, at a news conference, Nash spoke of the style of basketball the Suns brought to the NBA.
''It's amazing what we did,'' he said. ''... People play that style of basketball almost throughout the league now and it was a special, special time because something was happening that we really didn't know was happening at the time.''