Updated Apr 26, 2012 - 1:11 am
Suns finale all about Steve Nash
"We want Steve. We want Steve. We want Steve."
Wednesday night's game between Phoenix and San Antonio was the end of the line for the 2011-12 Suns, and possibly the end of the road for Steve Nash in the Valley.
So, the fans wanted one more look at their point guard, one final chance to show their appreciation for the last 8 years.
They got their wish. Nash got appreciative.
"It was obviously amazing to have the reception and support," he said after the game. "It's very special. It's not something I asked for or imagined, to get that type of spontaneous reaction.
"It means it's authentic, the relationship that I thought we had, so it really feels special."
There is no guarantee that this is the last time Suns fans will see the two-time MVP in purple and orange. A free agent, Nash could still return to the team he's had his greatest success with. But the feeling around the arena Wednesday was one that said this was it for the face of the franchise.
And, if it is, what a run he had in Phoenix.
Gentry said you usually get one player like Nash "in a coaching career," and it would be understandably difficult to see his star in a different team's uniform next season.
"All I've seen is him in purple, orange and white for the last eight years," Gentry said. "What he's done for this franchise and what he's done for our team, I don't know if there's another guy out there that has done as much for his team as he has."
Or done as much to impact his teammates.
"Everyone that's come through here has been better; they've had career years," Gentry added. "You can start naming guys - James Jones, Raja Bell…You can go on and on and on, he makes guys better. And I don't think there's anyone out there that can argue that."
Jared Dudley, who has spent the last three-and-a-half seasons with Nash and the Suns, wasn't about to. After all, he's seen his scoring average increase in each season he's played alongside one of the game's greatest point guards.
Needless to say, he felt Nash deserved every bit of the adulation the fans sent his way.
"I've never been a part of anything like that," he said of the chanting. "It shows you the respect they have for him; he's had a hell of a career."
Dudley said he'd love to have Nash back, selfishly because the point guard makes his life easier, but would understand if the veteran decided it was time to move on. While it is a possibility, Nash said he wasn't anywhere close to making a decision on his future.
However, if this was indeed his last game as a Sun, Nash said the night will be one he always remembers. And, conversely, he hopes he's left a legacy behind.
"I always hope people think of me as a competitor and a great teammate and a winner," he said. "If I'm fortunate enough for people to think of me that way as a Sun, then I'm very flattered."
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- Bickley Blast - Friday April 18Does Eric Bledsoe want to spend the prime of his career with the Suns?
- Jon Barry, ESPN NBA insider - Friday April 18Who is the team to beat in the East?
- Channing Frye, Suns forward - Thursday April 17Channing discusses the Suns' completed season, and what he is looking forward to in the offseason.
- Lon Babby, Suns president of basketball operations - Thursday April 17Lon Babby reacts to the Suns' season and talks with the guys about the optimism surrounding the org