PHOENIX, Ariz. – Professional, on-and-off the court.
That’s how two current Phoenix Suns describe their former teammate and soon-to-be Suns Ring of Honor member Steve Nash.
Markieff Morris, the longest-tenured Sun, and veteran Ronnie Price are the only two players remaining with ties to Nash.
Morris’ rookie season in 2011-12 was Nash’s final season in Phoenix.
“Just how professional he was,” Morris said. “He came to play every night. He worked on his game all the time. He took it very serious. He worked on his body a lot. He was always one of the first players here, one of the last to leave. It was repetition.
“He was a true professional.”
Price, a part of that same team, echoed similar thoughts.
“Ultimate professional,” he said of Nash, who will be inducted into the Suns Ring of Honor at halftime of Friday’s game against Portland. “A guy who played the game the right way. Played it with pride, respect and true passion. He had a true love for the game.”
Price served as Nash’s backup their one year together with the Suns. The two were also together last season with the L.A. Lakers, though Nash never played, opting to retire due to recurring nerve damage in his back.
“I learned a lot from him,” Price said. “My first year here I was amazed at his court vision. I learned a lot watching him and guarding him every day in practice, seeing how he played in the pick-and-rolls, the angles that he took. It helped me out a great deal, and it helped me extend my career in the NBA, so I just appreciate that. I appreciate him approaching the game the way he approached it. It helped me with my mindset, for sure.”
Nash was the Suns’ heart and soul during an eight-year run that helped revolutionize the NBA.
He led the club to its best record in franchise history in 2004-05 (tying the 1992-93 mark of 62-20) and earned back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player awards in 2005 and 2006. An eight-time All-Star (six with the Suns), Nash finished his career as the Suns’ all-time leader in assists, 3-point field goals made and free throw percentage.
“Him and Amare (Stoudemire) had the best pick-and-roll, probably ever in the league,” Morris said.
Originally drafted by the Suns with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft, Nash played a total of 10 seasons in Phoenix and ranks third on the Suns all-time games played list.
Nash will become the 14th member of the Suns Ring of Honor, joining Alvan Adams, Charles Barkley, Tom Chambers, Jerry Colangelo, Walter Davis, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Connie Hawkins, Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle, John MacLeod, Joe Proski, Dick Van Arsdale and Paul Westphal.
“People love him here, people love him everywhere,” Price said. “It’s not a show. It’s not something that he just puts off when the camera is on. It’s something that’s really a part of him in his everyday life. He’s just a great guy.”
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