AILING NASH HEARS PRAISE

Article from fiba.com

Everyone in the basketball world has been both sad and nostalgic following Steve Nash's announcement that he is to sit out this season with back woes.

A former national team star of Canada and two-time MVP in the NBA, the 1.91m point guard was looking to put a couple of injury-plagued years with the Los Angeles Lakers behind him and have a strong 19th season in the league. But instead, the 40-year-old will be out of action, leading many to wonder if he will play again.

"Being on the court this season has been my top priority, and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now," said Nash.

"I work very hard to stay healthy, and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest and will focus on my long-term health."

What the announcement has done is to remind everyone how special Nash has been in his career.

When he does officially retire, he will go down as one of the league's all-time greats. His former Dallas Mavericks teammate and good friend, Dirk Nowitzki, put Nash's career into context.

"To me, he was one of the fiercest competitors I know," the Germany international said to ESPNDallas.com."He was little, but he didn't take anything from nobody. He always wanted to win in practice and always got better. He was a great teammate and a great friend…

"I mean, if you consider where he came from and his lack of athleticism, he's got to be one of the greatest. "If you look at Magic (Johnson) and J (Jason) Kidd, they were big, they were physical, they were athletic, and he did it all with quickness and smarts...

"I was really fortunate to play with two of the best point guards ever, and that's J. Kidd and Steve."

With Kidd, Nowitzki captured his one and only NBA title in 2011.

Nash entered the NBA in 1996 and played with the Phoenix Suns before moving to Dallas and wearing the Mavericks jersey from 1998-2004.

After returning to Suns for a second spell, his career skyrocketed.

Nash was voted the league MVP in 2005 and 2006.

Nash was an NBA All-Star eight times in his career.

Lebron James has also sung the praises of Nash.

"His run in Phoenix was unbelievable, man," James said to the Cleveland Plain Dealer"The way he played the game of basketball, I wish I could have been a teammate of his for a year or two. Being around a guy like that who is just all about team."

Nash has been an NBA icon, but he's also made his mark with Canada.

He played for the national team when it hosted the 1994 FIBA World Championship, and also helped the Canadians finish second at the 1999 FIBA Americas Championship to qualify for the 2000 Olympics.

At the Sydney Games, Nash served as Captain of Canada and led them into the Quarter-Finals.

His last summer as a player with the national team came in 2003, when Canada came fourth in the Panamerican Olympic Qualifuing Tournament  and narrowly missed out on a spot at the 2004 Athen Games.

In May 2012, Nash became the general manager of the national team.