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Nash's reading material matches Suns playing style

 


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/ Feb. 3, 2005

Steve NashThe scene: Jerry Colangelo Elementary School, Phoenix, Arizona.

The NBA is shooting the latest commercial installment of its "Read to Achieve" campaign, and this one features Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash and a dozen pupils from Miss Garcia's third-grade class. The director shouts "Places everybody!" and cues Nash to begin reading.

"And then," says Nash, "the workers seized the means of production and imposed revolutionary justice on their capitalist exploiters. Next, the workers formed self-defense committees and headed to the countryside to liberate the peasants from the feudal landlords who had kept them chained for centuries in indentured servitude. There was great rejoicing as the blood of the ruling class and aristocracy flowed throughout the land. The people then organized a workers' paradise, and they lived happily ever after in a society based on the socialist credo, 'From each, according to his abilities; to each, according to his needs.'"

Sound far-fetched? Well, it didn't happen, but if you're confused then I suggest you get familiar with what's on Nash's reading table. In a January 19 New York Times profile of the speedy playmaker, Nash revealed he is reading the autobiography of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. To help him better understand Che's political philosophy, Nash also is dipping into one of the books that influenced Che: The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.

Nash wisely denied that he himself is a communist, but it is obvious to any student of both political philosophy and NBA basketball that his undersized Phoenix Suns use Cuban-style guerrilla warfare against their powerful-but-ponderous foes. Rather than slug it out in a slow-down game that would favor the bigfoots, the Suns use lightning-quick hit-and-run tactics, forcing the opposing team to adapt to them rather than vice versa. By playing David to the opposition's Goliath, the Suns gain another advantage that is critical in unconventional warfare: the passionate support of the "little people," even when competing on the enemy's turf.

It's also as plain as the beard on Marx's face why the Suns lead the NBA in both scoring and offensive efficiency: They adhere to communist share-the-ball and share-the-wealth principles. "From each, according to his abilities; to each, according to his needs" means playing within yourself, focusing your efforts on your strong suits, taking good shots and looking out for your teammates.

Fans the world over have come to love the Suns speedy, comradely style of basketball. Nash, his teammates and coach Mike D'Antoni have created a "hoopsters' paradise" in the desert, transforming conservative Arizona into a new kind of "Red State." May the revolution spread to every NBA city, liberating ballers from the oppressive chains of their control-freak coaches.

Viva Nash! Viva Suns-style basketball!

Dennis Hans' essays on basketball, foreign policy and many other topics have appeared in a host of places, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald, Slate, InsideHoops.com and other media outlets. He's a former adjunct professor of mass communications and American foreign policy, and he can be reached at HANS_D@popmail.firn.edu.







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