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Steve Nash press conference interview




/ July 14, 2004

Point guard Steve Nash, formerly with the Dallas Mavericks, has signed with the Phoenix Suns as a free agent. The following is a transcript of the Phoenix press conference as Nash was introduced as a new member of the team.

SUNS PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER BRYAN COLANGELO: Iíd like to thank everyone for coming today. This is a terrific turnout and I think itís indicative of the reaction that this signing and this announcement will have on our franchise, and the impact it will have on our franchise.

Iíd like to thank all the fans that are here and tuning in live on Iíd like to thank our business partners and sponsors that are here. Our community leaders and also the staff that makes everything possible here. Of course, the press, as well.

Iíd like to start by saying that when the floodgates of free agency opened up on July 1, we had one specific goal and one specific purpose. That purpose is sitting right next to me. We set out to address toughness and leadership on this team. We needed to have a mentor for a young group of players that weíre very excited about.

We talked about needing a point guard. We talked about someone teaching Leandro Barbosa, a young player that we have thatís learning the game. We talked about mental toughness and thatís something that Steve Nash brings to the table.

We set out with a goal and a purpose, and one focus. We didnít waste a lot of time entertaining other alternatives. We made a phone call to (Nashís sports agent) Bill Duffy and Steve Nash immediately, at 9:01 p.m. on June 30th, July 1st on the east coast. It was important for us to zero in and feel like the approach was the right one. Steve Nash defined everything that we were looking to address on this team and our entire basketball staff quickly came to a consensus several months ago that we needed to get this done.

To make the announcement today that we have added, to borrow a football term, a true quarterback for this team, and a leader and a mentor. It just thrills all of us in the organization and I think you can say that with all the things that have gone on with this basketball program for the last couple of years, for me this is the most exciting. We know what the future holds for this team. We know the impact that this player will have on us. I canít say enough about the character and the leadership, and the desire that Steve Nash will bring to this team.

There are a lot of things to be said. Iíll pass this over to Jerry, but Iíd like to thank (Steveís) mom and dad for being here today, and also Bill Duffy is joining us today. Bill Duffy is Steveís representative. Also, Mike DíAntoni, Jerry Colangelo and of course Steve Nash.

SUNS CHAIRMAN AND CEO JERRY COLANGELO: Well, you saw a clip of a guy playing in short hair. It just goes to show you what happens when people leave Phoenix sometimes. So, the prodigal son returns.

Iím really excited about this. It seems like not that long ago when Steve came in to talk about his situation with us and our roster. He was playing behind a pretty good point guard here in Phoenix and really was looking for an opportunity to be a starting point guard. He believed in himself and said, ďI know that I can do this.Ē

There was an accommodation made and boy, did he do it. He went out and did a terrific job for Dallas. To bring him back, I think, is a tremendous move for this franchise and I couldnít be happier to have you back, Steve.

SUNS GUARD STEVE NASH: Thank you. You guys were talking about me that whole time?

Iíd just like to say thank you very much to Bryan and Jerry, and the whole staff and everyone that flew out to Dallas to recruit me. It felt very special to be wanted and to be loved. That was the main reason why I came back.

I left here (in 1998) somewhat begrudgingly, only because I loved the organization and the city. To be able to come back under these circumstances is just fantastic and I think itís a perfect circle for me and my family, so thank you very much.

Weíre all extremely excited and I canít wait to get with the guys.

SPORTS AGENT BILL DUFFY: I just want to say that I think the main reason Steve was able to come back was the relationship he had the first time he was here. Itís very rare for a player to be drafted and then return. Five, six years ago when Steve had emerged, Bryan and I had discussions about Steve, and whether he would stay here or go elsewhere. The way it was handled was in such a classy fashion that there was never any reluctance to return, so itís a credit to you that this has come full circle.

Iím just real proud of this young man, how much heís developed in his life and his career. in this community, you have a true champion. It wasnít just everyone at the podium. Rex Chapman, Dave Griffin, Amarť Stoudemire, everybody got involved to make this happen.

I think youíll be happy, not only with a great person, but now heís come back a star. Heís going to lead this franchise to great heights.

BRYAN COLANGELO: I do want to say that prior to even putting on a uniform, Steve recorded his first assist last night. We were somewhat surprised when the cap number came in at $43.870 (million), which is slightly greater than what it was last year. We were anticipating something, perhaps, as high as $45 (million), maybe as high as $46 (million). But, the negotiations between the union and the NBA obviously threw a curve at us once again.

You can date this back to the lockout year, where we had anticipated an amount of space and the number came in quite dramatically low. So, Steve did in fact get a haircut last night, it was just a monetary haircut. He certainly stepped up to the plate last night and provided us with an assist to enable us to sign yet another free agent that weíre releasing information on now, Quentin Richardson. Between the cooperation of Steve and Quentin, the situation worked out in everyoneís favor. Once again, I just wanted to say thank you to Steve for making this possible.

SUNS HEAD COACH MIKE DíANTONI: There are very few players in the league that make other players better and make coaches smarter, and weíve got one of them right now. Weíre obviously extremely happy to have him and Iím looking forward to working with him to try to win a lot of basketball games.

So, if you see my hair grows longer and I start doing this up there (fists his head), things are going pretty good.

QUESTION: Steve, how long did it take you to decide to sign with the Suns?

STEVE NASH: Surprisingly, it didnít take as long as you may have thought after six memorable years in Dallas. There were quite a few other options that would have presented themselves, but Bill and I talked, and my family and I talked, and we decided that if it wasnít going to be Dallas, where I planned to go back to with those teammates that Iíd grown so much with, Phoenix was the only place I wanted to go.

Once the situation presented itself and the opportunity to come back with everyone showing me as much interest as they did, it was a very impressively quick turn around. I never expected it to happen, period, let alone for it to happen in the matter of an hour or two. Itís life changing, but Iím extremely excited and moving forward I couldnít think of a better situation for myself and my family.

QUESTION: Could you describe that night that the recruiting process went down?

STEVE NASH: I was really nervous, to be honest. Iíd formed some pretty special friendships with my teammates. Weíd won a lot of games together and weíd grown a lot. We came in to Dallas relatively at the same time, speaking of Dirk (Nowitzki) and Michael Finley, and we were at the bottom. We took ourselves nearly to the top and to kind of turn my back on that with the job unfinished was very difficult, something that was totally unforeseen.

I wasnít close-minded, but Iíd never thought of any other alternative and I think that made me really nervous when I realized that there were other alternatives, and I might have to look into them.

It happened so quickly. I was nervous. These guys saw how nervous I was to leave my teammates. At the same time, I was overcome with the fact that they really wanted me and that makes up for the memories and your teammates, who youíll always have. It made it the right place to be.

QUESTION: How did you look at this team when you played against them?

STEVE NASH: Not only because of Jerry and Bryan, and the relationship that we started eight years agoÖ The franchise from head to toe has always been well respected throughout the world of sports and this city is obviously is a terrific place to play, especially in the season that we play.

But, also looking at the team. That was a very important factor. Every time we played against this team, we saw a lot of potential and I think they put fear in us. They beat us a number of times, but more importantly we realized their potential and realized that with time, it was going to be a formidable nucleus. That was also a big factor in coming over.

Most important for me was to realize that thereís a great group of guys here. Itís a team sport and no matter how much money you make or how much fame or glory or accolades you can receive, itís no fun if youíre on the bus or the plane, or at practice and you donít enjoy the people youíre with. I realized I was coming here to a great group of guys and a group of guys that want to play for each other. It wouldnít have worked it they werenít such.

QUESTION: How did you feel about the comments made by the owner of the Mavericks after you agreed to the Sunsí contract?

STEVE NASH: I never really read or heard firsthand the comments, so I was only privy third party. Itís disappointing that things go on like that, but I think a lot of it is probably the story going through about four or five people and it ends up being a different story by the time it fell on my ears, and probably vice versa.

Iím not really going to worry about that too much or comment too much. Obviously, itís unfortunate those things have to happen and everyone doesnít just move on, but thereís an incredible fan base in Dallas who asked questions and it provoked some answers. Maybe the answers were convoluted after everything that had gone on.

For me, itís over and I have no ill will or bad feelings. I have nothing but fantastic memories and Iím just excited to be here.

QUESTION: Did you get to visit much with new Suns owner Robert Sarver?

STEVE NASH: As much as could be expected. He was there with all these guys to come and recruit me in Dallas. That was great. I got meet him first hand and get to know him a little bit in the short period of time. I think heís going to have a tremendous impact. As a young man coming in to own a basketball team, heís going to have a lot of enthusiasm.

QUESTION: What sort of things were said to you to make you feel special and wanted by the Sunsí organization?

STEVE NASH: Most importantly, they just thought that I would be a perfect fit for this team. For not only the only the general manager, the owner and the president to feel that way, but most importantly, for the coach and for Amarť to feel that way. When Mike and Amarť spoke to me, they made me feel as though I would be a perfect fit for this team, and I could have a huge impact on the guys. That gave me instant goals and an instant sense of wanting to continue to improve and wanting to continue to help this organization to grow. That was very exciting for me.

QUESTION: Do you see the situation now with the Suns as being similar to the situation in Dallas when you joined the Mavericks?

STEVE NASH: It is a similar situation in some respect, but I think itís different. When we were at the bottom in Dallas, we werenít really sure where we could get to. We didnít know if we could climb out of the bottom or what our potential was. We just hoped and went for it.

There are pieces in place here that the potential is somewhat more foreseen. At that time, we didnít know if we were going to be a playoff team or a contender or what. I think this team is definitely going to be a playoff team and from there, the potential is limitless. The first step is sometimes the most important one to get the team rolling and to get confidence. I think the mindset is really the indicator of success in this league.

There are some similarities, but this is a tremendous situation and one of itís own.

QUESTION: Do you enjoy challenges like this?

STEVE NASH: Yeah, it would be pretty boring if we didnít have challenges, so this is something to cure that boredom for a few years now.

QUESTION: Do you see yourself playing the same role here as you did in Dallas?

STEVE NASH: I plan to play exactly the same way. If you can be yourself, youíre on the way. Iím just going to try to be myself. I only know how to play one way. Hopefully, Iíll continue to improve, and Iíll learn to play and adapt to different styles and play. But I think they brought me here to be myself and thatís when Iím at my best.

Iíve only missed four games in three years, including a lot of playoff games and preseason games, and two of them were with the flu. So, Iím not really too worried about my body. I love to work out. I love to improve, so I think Iíll be fine.

SUNS SCOUT REX CHAPMAN: Are those golf shoes youíre wearing to your press conference?

STEVE NASH: Absolutely. Good one. Super duper.

BRYAN COLANGELO: Thank you for coming. Once again, Iíd like to welcome Steve Nash to the franchise.

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