Phoenix Suns sign Steve Nash to contract extension

The Phoenix Suns today signed two-time NBA MVP point guard Steve Nash to a two-year contract extension through 2011-12, the club announced.

“Steve is still one of the best point guards in the NBA, and his dedication to conditioning will keep him among the league’s elite for several more seasons,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr.  “In many ways he embodies what our franchise is all about, and we’re thrilled that he will be the leader of our team for the next three years.”

A 13-year NBA veteran, including seven overall in Phoenix, Nash has spent the last five seasons in the desert and has led the Suns to two Western Conference Finals appearances and two of the club’s three seasons of 60 or more wins in franchise history (2004-05, 2006-07).  Since signing to return to Phoenix on July 14, 2004, Nash has led the Suns to an average of 56 wins each season and Phoenix has compiled an impressive 270-115 (.701) mark with him in the lineup.

One of only nine players in NBA history to collect back-to-back NBA MVP awards (2005, 2006), Nash is a six-time NBA All-Star (four appearances as a Sun, 2005-08) and a three-time All-NBA First Team Selection (2005, 2006, 2007).  Since 2004-05, Nash has averaged 17.1 points and 10.9 assists in 385 games in a Suns uniform while shooting an unparalleled 51.1 percent from the field (2,401-4,697), 44.9 percent from three-point range (687-1,530) and 91.6 percent from the free-throw line (1,108-1,209).

Among the most prolific passers in NBA history, the 6-3, 178-pound Nash currently ranks ninth on the NBA’s all-time assist list (7,505) and second on the Suns’ franchise list (4,586) behind Suns legend Kevin Johnson. Nash is the only player in Suns history to average 11 or more assists in three different seasons (2004-05, 2006-07, 2007-08) and owns four of the 10 double-digit assist seasons in franchise history.

Widely regarded as one of the NBA’s best shooters, in 2008-09, Nash became the first player in NBA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line in three different seasons (2005-06, 2007-08).  The 35-year-old Nash concluded the season tied for 16th on the league’s all-time list of three-pointers made (1,360) and just 10 threes shy of surpassing the Suns’ franchise record currently held by assistant coach and Ring of Honor member Dan Majerle (800).

Nash will begin his eighth season in Phoenix in 2009-10 ranked as the second-most accurate free-throw shooter in NBA history behind only Mark Price, and tops among active players.  A career 89.7-percent shooter from the line, Nash is one of only six players in league history to shoot 90 percent or better from the free-throw line in at least five career seasons. In 2008-09, Nash shot a career-high 93.3 percent from the charity stripe, breaking his own Phoenix franchise record (.921, 2005-06).

Originally selected by the Suns with the 15th overall pick of the 1996 NBA Draft, Nash played his first two seasons in Phoenix before being traded to Dallas on July 25, 1998 for Pat Garrity, Bubba Wells, Martin Muursepp and a future first-round pick that the Suns would use on Shawn Marion in 1999.  After six seasons with the Mavericks, Nash returned to Phoenix as a restricted free agent prior to the 2004-05 season and keyed the then third-largest turnaround in NBA history and a franchise-record tying 62 victories a season after the club won 29 games.

Among the numerous and wide-ranging awards his professional and personal endeavors have garnered, Nash was named to the Order of Canada in Dec. 2007, his home nation’s highest civilian honor, for his success on the court and his humanitarian efforts.  Nash was also the recipient of the 2007 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, is a two-time winner of the Lionel Conacher Award as Canada’s top male athlete (2002, 2005), and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2006.

His well-known Steve Nash Foundation is dedicated to assisting underserved children in their health, personal development, education and enjoyment of life with efforts focused in British Columbia, Arizona and Paraguay, home nation of Nash’s wife, Alejandra.  Winner of the 2008 Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy, foundation events have raised over $1 million.

One of the NBA’s “greenest” players, in 2007 Nash opened the Steve Nash Sports Club in Vancouver, the first sports gym to aspire to meet standards for energy conservation and environmentally friendly practices.  His Nike “Trash Talk” shoe is made from the wasted manufacturing scraps of other shoes, packaged in a box made entirely of recycled fiber and went on sale to the public on Earth Day 2009.  Nash now partners with Arizona Public Service (APS), the state’s largest and longest-serving electric utility, and appears in popular television advertisements to promote the company’s solar and renewable energy initiatives.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa on Feb. 7, 1974, Nash moved to Canada at the age of 18 months.