The 5: Quotes from Hall of Fame speeches for Nash, Hill, Kidd, Scott
The 2018 inductees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame had a stronger connection to the Phoenix Suns than most years.
Not only was two-time MVP Steve Nash inducted, but there was also Jason Kidd and Grant Hill, who also spent some of their careers in Phoenix.
There’s also Charlie Scott, the franchise leader in points per game at 24.8 in three All-Star seasons from the early 1970s.
Here are five of the most notable quotes from their speeches with ties to the Suns.
“The ultimate target”
Perhaps the best dynamic duo in franchise history was Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Nash was the league’s craftiest player and best passer but lacked much athleticism or explosion.
Stoudemire had enough for both of them as a pair, and with his combination of over-the-top physicality and speed as a finisher, he was a perfect match for Nash as a pick-and-roll partner.
“In Phoenix, I got to play with Amar’e Stoudemire,” Nash said. “I didn’t really watch a lot of film when I played, I certainly don’t like to look back now, but whenever something comes across my timeline or I see a pick-and-roll with Amar’e, it makes me smile. This guy was the ultimate target for a point guard. He made the game a lot of fun. Thank you Amar’e.”
“This is the time I learned how to win in the NBA”
When Jason Kidd ran from team-to-team through his speech, the 21-year veteran thanked several people in the Suns organization.
From the Colangelo family to Danny Ainge, Kidd shouted out several notable names. That included former teammates like Kevin Johnson, Danny Manning and Steve Nash.
Kidd saw his time in Phoenix in a special way.
“This is the time I learned how to win in the NBA,” he said.
“I wish I had played for Doc”
Grant Hill’s career will, unfortunately, always be defined by the question of “what if?”
At the age of 27, Hill had made the All-Star team in five of his six seasons for the Detroit Pistons and had just averaged 25.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. With a move to the Orlando Magic, he would have at least a couple more years of his prime left and was well on his way to becoming one of the greatest to ever play his position. Injuries, however, derailed his career in Florida.
Hill poked fun at this, noting his lack of time playing for Doc Rivers in Orlando. Over four seasons from 2000-04, Hill played in only 47 total games.
“I wish I had played for Doc,” he joked, as he thanked all the great coaches he played for.
“I’m probably the only inductee here to thank members of the medical community too”
Hill’s career resurgence after Orlando was in Phoenix with the Suns, where he played a key role for five seasons and revitalized a career that felt over.
This led to Hill thanking some medical members of organizations, including the Suns’.
“Thank you to Dr. Tom Carter and the Phoenix Suns training staff mafia. Aaron Nelson, Mike Clark, Tom Maystadt and Jay Gaspar — you guys are the absolute best,” Hill said.
“He’s the godfather of the game in this country”
That’s how Nash would describe Jerry Colangelo, who drafted the point guard out of Santa Clara.
“I’m forever grateful for Jerry Colangelo,” Nash said.
Scott also touched on Colangelo, saying he “made my dream come true.”
After Nash thanked his first-ever NBA coach Cotton Fitzsimmons, his second was Danny Ainge.
“That was fun,” Nash said of playing for Ainge. “He taught us to have no fear and he certainly didn’t.”
When getting to his second stint in Phoenix, Nash spoke on the new Suns ownership led by Robert Sarver, joking that Sarver probably wasn’t too excited to spend money on an aging 30-year-old point guard.
The coach he made history with, Mike D’Antoni, came next.
“He taught us not to care what anyone else thought. Run it down their throats, put pressure on the entire game and make ’em pay,” Nash said of D’Antoni. “And I’ll never forget that attitude, that spirit and those lessons. Thanks for those great years, Mike.”
Nash also thanked his next coach Alvin Gentry, and like Hill, also thanked the Suns “training staff mafia.”