The Phoenix Suns can thank Mark Cuban for Steve Nash

Mark Cuban, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Mark Cuban, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Many Phoenix Suns consider Steve Nash the best player to ever lace them up for the orange and purple. In part, they have Mark Cuban to thank for that.

We know Mark Cuban as the eccentric billionaire who wears t-shirts courtside and yells at the refs like we would if we owned an NBA franchise. We also know him from Sharktank, getting put through a table on WWE, and of course, the worst reality show ever made, The Benefactor. But Phoenix Suns fans should thank him tremendously because it was he who allowed Steve Nash to come back to Phoenix, where he would become immortalized.

In a recent All the Smoke podcast with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, Steve Nash talked about his entire NBA career, but his breakdown of how he ended up back with the Phoenix Suns after his stint with the Dallas Mavericks stood out.

Mark Cuban bought the Mavericks in 2000, Nash’s second year with the team. After making two All-Star appearances, Nash’s numbers dipped a bit in 2003-2004. I’ll let Nash take it from here:

"“I think [my stats dropping] was a sign to Mark Cuban that I was coming to an end, so that summer he didn’t make a big effort to keep me. I think he thought he didn’t want to overpay me. I think he overpaid a few guys and didn’t want to overpay an aging point guard. And that’s how I ended up in Phoenix, really. I don’t think he was confident in my future at that point.”"

So, instead of what he thought would have been overpaying him, Cuban let him go, the Suns brought him back and the rest is NBA history.

The way Nash tells it, his statistical decline in ’03-’04 wasn’t a sign of the backside of his career, it was purely situational. The Mavericks brought in Antawn Jamison and Antoine Walker that season and because those two and Dirk Nowitzki all essentially played the same position (nimble power forward), the chemistry just didn’t work.

And for the Phoenix Suns, thankfully it didn’t. Who knows what the 2000s Suns would have looked like with no Steve Nash, but my gut tells me there would have been one or two fewer wins.

So, thank you, Mark Cuban. I’d buy you a beer next time I see you, but considering we’ve never met, will likely never meet, and you have enough money to buy all the beer in the world, you’ll have to settle with online gratitude.


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