Steve Nash on Staying Ageless, Canada's Basketball Revolution, and Wanting to Win a Chip
The NBA legend and BioSteel ambassador talks about the rise of Canadian basketball and what it's like coaching players on the Brooklyn Nets he's played against.
Image via BioSteel
Over the course of the Brooklyn Nets’ season so far, Kyrie Irving has missed time for personal reasons, James Harden has picked up a hamstring injury (and only joined after the quarter-mark of the season), while Kevin Durant has missed significant time.
Watching Steve Nash patrol the sidelines and manage the team through all the chaos, it’s hard not to picture him on the court itself, orchestrating the action as he did over the course of his sparkling 18-year-career.
He hasn’t had to consider it, since the Nets have been so good they’re flirting with the top of the Eastern Conference, but the point here is that the former two-time MVP still looks in great shape and not anywhere near his age.
“Cutting out sugar from my diet was so crucial for me,” Nash tells Complex Canada about why he was not only able to extend the prime of his career but continue to reap health benefits. “I think that was a turning point for me and I think a lot of the league began to do the same. I was fortunate to have some of the best trainers and coaches to educate me on what I was putting in my body and how it was affecting my health.”
A crucial addition to his healthy living regime has been BioSteel’s zero-sugar sports drink, which has built a significant edge in the market due to the fact other sports drinks are packed full of sugar. BioSteel announced a multi-year partnership with the Canadian sports icon, one that came organically due to Nash’s continued commitment to fitness.
“When I was coming out of Canada as a high schooler there wasn’t as strong of a basketball program as there is now…. There is a ton of great basketball talent coming out of Canada.”
Giving BioSteel a shot and getting to a point where he was ready to cut sugar out did need a bit of a crossroads moment, as Nash dealt with pain early in his career and in Phoenix days, where he led the team to some of their best years and helped build the legacy of what is now known as the ‘Seven Seconds or Less’ Suns. He worked with trainers to overhaul his diet and nutrition and only became interested in “healthy fuel” for his body.
“I wish I had done it earlier, but I believe it had a factor in extending my career,” Nash says. “BioSteel is by far the best sports hydration product out there for pro athletes and consumers alike. It offers a clean, healthy hydration option that other products can’t compare to.”
Those extended playing days have helped Nash receive many accolades over the years, including an induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2018, and he most recently became the first-ever Canadian elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame. During his international playing days, Nash’s most famous accomplishment came when he helped lead Canada to the Sydney Olympics in 2000, where they topped a group that included Spain before falling to France in the quarter-finals in heartbreaking fashion.
Canada’s national team could feature several big names at the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for later this summer, and Nash is proud of the development he’s seen in the program over the past couple decades.
“When I was coming out of Canada as a high schooler there wasn’t as strong of a basketball program as there is now,” Nash says. “Basketball has become a global sport in the last 30 years and programs like the BioSteel All-Canadian Games exist to highlight a lot of the international talent. A lot more Canadians have entered the games. There is a ton of great basketball talent coming out of Canada.
“Being able to see top talent who had an opportunity to follow in my footsteps has been amazing. I am honoured to be the first Canadian to be elected and hope for many more to come. The Canadian National Team has also done a fantastic job of cultivating a program where our youth and talent can shine.”
“Those guys came into the league at the end of my career and it was easy to see then that they would become the future of the league.” – On coaching players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden
Though Nash is well past his playing days, maintaining an active lifestyle is still a big passion thanks to his five kids and his desire to be an active dad and keep up with them as they continue to grow. He tries to play with them as much as he can and has also been a more active soccer player—another big passion of his—since retirement; he hopes to get back to it as soon as life arrives at some semblance of normalcy once again. The lifestyle changes caused by the pandemic have instead pushed him to get creative and build home workout plans, something he considers crucial towards his own sanity.
“Getting a sweat in is essential to my mental health, which makes me feel like I can do my job to the best of my ability,” Nash says.
For now, the primary focus is on that day job: helping the Nets grow into their championship aspirations and lead them to their first-ever NBA title. The addition of former MVP Harden has made them favourites to come out of the East, and they have gone 22-4 since a dispiriting loss to the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 9. Nash’s ability to relate to the players has been an important resource, and such was his longevity during his playing career that he was on the court to see the early days of several players he coaches now, including Harden, Durant, Irving, Jeff Green, DeAndre Jordan, as well as Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge more recently.
“Those guys came into the league at the end of my career and it was easy to see then that they would become the future of the league,” Nash says. “It’s exciting to see their growth, and to have the opportunity to coach them now has been special to cap off to my career.”
His playing window may have closed without the biggest team prize in basketball to show for it, but maximizing everything his body and mind could possibly do during that time is what has presented him with the opportunity to continue chasing that dream as a coach.
“The team has bought into the goal of winning the championship and we want to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”