Steve Nash was hired as the new Nets head coach on Sept. 3 and replaced interim head coach Jacque Vaughn without an ounce of coaching experience on his résumé.
Nash is among the greatest point guards of the 21st century, but some questioned whether his status as a white man allowed him to earn such a coveted job with effectively no experience. The two-time MVP did note he benefits from white privilege on Wednesday, but as for the Nets job specifically, Nash doesn't believe his race was a factor.
"I have benefited from white privilege. Our society has a lot of ground to make up," Nash told the media as he was introduced as Brooklyn's head coach. "I'm not saying that my privilege was a factor in this position, but we as white people have to understand that we have been served a privilege and a benefit by the color of skin in our communities. And we have a long way to go to find equality and social and racial justice."
Nash's hire comes after multiple Black head coaches were fired in 2020. Vaughn, who is Black, led the Nets to a strong showing in Orlando, but he will remain with the Nets as an assistant in 2020-21. There are currently just five minority head coaches in the NBA.
Nash noted the need to promote and encourage the hiring of Black coaches and executives on Wednesday.
"I'm very sensitive to the cause and the goal, but I don't know if this is an example that fits that conversation," Nash said. "But I own it, and I understand it, why that's important to talk about. We need more diversity and opportunity for African American coaches and staff."
"It's interesting in being such a partner and an ally in the need for equality, to be put in the middle of it in a sense because it is near and dear to my heart. But I accept it, I want to be a part of the conversation and, frankly, I want to be a part of change moving forward."
Nash, 46, retired in 2014 after 18 NBA seasons. He was an eight-time All-Star and five-time assist champion, earning seven All-NBA selections.