At 38, Steve Nash is playing like few have
Happy birthday, Steve Nash.
The Suns’ star turned 38 Tuesday, and to celebrate he will
lead his team in Milwaukee against the Bucks. Phoenix is
looking for its third consecutive win, a feat the team has
not accomplished this season.
However, as rare as a Suns winning streak is, what’s even
more difficult to find is anyone playing better – or even
as well – as Nash is at this age.
The fifth-oldest active player in the NBA, Nash is
averaging 15 points and an NBA-best 10 assists per game.
He’s shooting .556 from the field, .452 from three.
To put that in perspective, none of the four players who
are older than Nash are even averaging double digits in
any category, let alone leading the league in one.
No, Nash is in rarified air, as he’s still an effective
player at an age where most are either on TNT’s broadcast
team or just enjoying life after basketball.
Now, that’s not to say Nash is the only one in NBA
history to play well at age 38, as Kevin Willis and Robert
Parish played until they were in their mid-40s, and
Dikembe Mutombo was still blocking shots and wagging his
finger at the ripe old age of 87.
And while Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, John Stockton
and Michael Jordan all played well at age 38 and beyond,
none were shouldering the responsibilities Nash is at
their advanced age. And only Stockton was a point guard.
Which is, incidentally, another part of what makes what
Nash is doing so unbelievable, because many of the game’s
great floor generals hung up their sneakers long before
their 38th birthday, with many seeing their bodies start
to break down and rob them of the ability to play at a
But not Nash, who even while constantly forced to dribble
through traffic and run through screens has found a way to
stay on the court. He’s only missed two games this season,
and never more than eight in a year since returning to
Phoenix in 2004.
So, what does this say about Nash? Well, other than the
fact that he’s continuing to defy father time, it says
there’s no reason his play has to fall off in a
significant way anytime soon.
And from what we’ve seen over the last eight years, it’s
doubtful anyone thinks it would, anyway.