Besides the obvious link of being the owner of the team he played on, Robert Sarver has a special connection with Steve Nash on another level.
The Phoenix Suns signed Nash the day after Sarver purchased the franchise. Although Nash had been in Phoenix before, they were both coming to Phoenix at the same time.
Everyone knows the rest of this story, with Nash turning the Suns into a Western Conference powerhouse, but it didn’t seem like that would be the case right away.
“I don’t think anybody envisioned that we would come back to win 62 games the next year,” Sarver said on the A Night For Nash special on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
“Nor did anybody envision that someone at Steve’s age would actually be better in his 30s than he was in his 20s.”
Nash was an elite player for nearly all of his time in Phoenix and with that came a long list of memories for everyone involved.
Sarver has several favorite memories, but he specifically talked about what Nash said to his team after their Game 4 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Round 1 of the 2006 playoffs.
“We looked at that last play on replay and Luke Walton’s foot was two feet out of bounds so it should have been our game. Steve kind of commanded the locker room and said ‘listen guys you’ve got five minutes to get this out of your system. I don’t want to hear one word about this game after that. We’re a better team than them. I know we’re down 3-1, we’re going to go win three games in a row one at a time and I don’t want to hear one more word about this game.’
“His will and leadership led us to win three games in a row and win that series.”
The Suns owner has no doubt about Nash’s legacy with the Suns.
“I would argue he’s probably the best player to ever put on a Suns jersey,” Sarver said.