Steve Nash officially receives call to Basketball Hall of Fame

Canadian guard is among 13-member class that will be inducted in September

Steve Nash, left, and Jason Kidd will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

Canadian Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill are among the 13-member class that will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September.

The Hall of Fame made the announcement Saturday on Twitter before the NCAA Final Four semifinals.

The inductees also include Ray Allen, Maurice Cheeks, Tina Thompson, coach Lefty Driesell, Charlie Scott, longtime executive Rick Welts, NBA executive Rod Thorn, Katie Smith, the late Ora Mae Washington and Croatian star Dino Radja.

Nash, from Victoria, and Kidd were two of the greatest point guards of their generation. Nash is a two-time NBA most valuable player and eight-time all-star while Kidd earned 10 all-star selections.

Hill won two NCAA titles at Duke and was a seven-time all-star. Allen is the most prolific three-point shooter in NBA history and a two-time league champion.

Face of Canadian basketball

Nash was the face of Canadian basketball for the better part of two decades, and when he retired in 2015, his 10,335 assists ranked him third all-time behind John Stockton and Kidd.

Nash made the All-NBA first team on three occasions during his career with Phoenix (’96-98, ’04-12), Dallas (’98-04) and the Los Angeles Lakers (’12-15). He represented Canada internationally for over 10 years and led the national team to the quarter-finals of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“Steve Nash’s impact on Canadian basketball may never be fully articulated,” Canada Basketball president Michele O’Keefe said in a statement. “His level of competitiveness drove Team Canada to win some great games and yet his biggest contribution may be how he has inspired the following generations to pick up a basketball.

“From a kid growing up in Victoria to ‘Captain Canada,’ on behalf of all Canadian basketball fans, congratulations Steve on this remarkable accomplishment.”

‘Trailblazer for the game’

Nash, a 15th overall draft pick by the Suns in 1996, averaged 14.3 points, 8.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds over 1,217 career regular-season games. He also appeared in 120 playoff games, averaging 17.3 points and 8.8 assists.

Nash earned FIBA Americas MVP honours in 1999 and 2003. In 2012, he was named general manager of the senior men’s national team.

“Steve has been a trailblazer for the game of basketball in Canada and worldwide,” said Canada Basketball executive vice-president Rowan Barrett. “He was a consummate professional and a tremendous example of what can be achieved with hard work, discipline and true belief in yourself. As a friend that grew with him from our teenage years, and on behalf of our men’s high performance team at Canada Basketball, we wish Steve a heartfelt congratulations on his induction to the Hall of Fame.”

Nash attended Santa Clara University and was twice named West Coast Conference Player of the Year (’95, ’96).

Elite class

A three-time winner of the Lionel Conacher Award as The Canadian Press male athlete of the year, Nash joins fellow Canadians Dr. James Naismith (inventor, 1959), Ernest C. Quigley (official, 1961), Peter F. (Pete) Newell (coach, 1979) and Robert J. (Bobby) Houbregs (player, 1987) as Hall inductees.

“I couldn’t be happier for Steve to be recognized like this,” said Suns coach and Canadian men’s team coach Jay Triano. “Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is a tremendous honour for not only Steve, but for Canadian Basketball and for all Canadians who have followed his career. [He’s] a two-time NBA MVP, a member of the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honour and a Canadian Olympian, but there is no greater tribute than being selected to the Hall of Fame.

“It is an incredible achievement for Steve and for all Canadians. He was a great player, but also [a] great leader and teammate.”

The induction ceremony is set for Sept. 7 at the Springfield Symphony Hall.

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