Steve Nash's Phoenix Finale?

Normally the last regular season game of the year against a Spurs team resting its starters wouldn’t draw in many fans for a Suns group that’s not even making the playoffs. But when there are hints that it could be Steve Nash’s last game in a Phoenix Suns uniform, you show up. And even in a game that has both teams’ second and third string in for majority of the night, it wasn’t hard to recognize the air of finality when he was sitting on the floor by the bench with five minutes to play. So you join in when the crowd stands on its feet and starts chanting.

“WE WANT STEVE! WE WANT STEVE! WE WANT STEVE!”

Never mind that the Suns had just given up the lead and a 6-0 run to the Spurs’ third rotation. Never mind that M-V-Steve’s first play after being subbed in to deafening cheers was a turnover. And never mind that Nash played a grand total of 17 minutes. Because the fact is, when Alvin Gentry finally obliged and put him back in for a just over a minute, it wasn’t about winning the game or watching Steve Nash play anymore. It was about giving us the chance to let him know that if it was his last game in a Phoenix Suns jersey, it was going to be memorable for everyone in the building.

Sitting in the upper deck, going crazy every time Nash made a shot, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel going into the night. I knew that this could be Nash and Grant Hill’s last game for the Suns and I felt nervous. I was disappointed that Grant Hill didn’t even get to suit up and enjoy a similar ovation, but maybe it’s better that he didn’t. Because when an arena full of people starts chanting “WE WANT STEVE!” with five minutes to go in a game that doesn’t matter, you know that player meant something. And it felt appropriate that this was Steve Nash’s night, which is why we cried out:

“WE WANT STEVE! WE WANT STEVE! WE WANT STEVE!”

No one really cared that the Suns lost the game. A few cared that Nash only came in for a minute before being subbed out again, but most got over it pretty quick. Everyone cared about getting one last opportunity to show Steve Nash how much his hometown loves him, and that brief, one-minute curtain call was enough for all our emotion to come pouring out. All the memories and highlights of the past few years came back into our minds and because we all sensed that this could be the end, our need to give Nash that standing ovation overpowered anything else that was going on on the court. He deserved to have that moment, regardless of where he chooses to play next year as a free agent. Nash has kept the Suns competitive over the last few years, even without a great supporting cast, and he’s never complained once in that time. He’s been our leader, our hero, our one bright spot in a few dark seasons.

No one knows for sure what will become of Steve Nash after this season. He’s said that Phoenix is his home and that this is his team, but as a competitor, he still wants a championship ring and he stated that if the Suns don’t make the right off-season moves to keep him interested, he might leave. He even mentioned being open to listening to LeBron James try and persuade him to come down to Miami. But nothing is certain yet.

While I’d love to sit here and tell you “Don’t worry, Nash and Hill will both be back next year!” I don’t think I can do it after last night. Even though Nash doesn’t know what he’s going to do yet, both parties approached the night like it was his last just in case. We weren’t taking any chances on missing out on his final appearance in a Suns jersey and because that sentiment was hanging in the air of US Airways, it definitely felt like the end of an era in Suns basketball. On the one hand, I think I speak for everyone when I say that a small part of me almost wants Nash to leave, to move on to bigger and better things and to have a realistic shot at winning a championship with a contender. Especially after that beautifully sentimental moment last night, it would almost seem strange for Nash to return and suffer a few more mediocre seasons here. But on the other hand, a selfish yet powerful voice deep down keeps saying something over and over. It mentions that maybe the Suns can make the right moves to make the team better. It emphasizes that this is Steve Nash’s home. It even pleads that he won’t leave us. But above everything else, it says:

“WE WANT STEVE! WE WANT STEVE! WE WANT STEVE!”

 

 

Tags: Phoenix Suns Steve Nash We Want Steve

comments powered by Disqus