Santa Clara celebrates its greatest athlete in school history
The Santa Clara
May 18, 2017
Steve Nash, along with the ‘92-’93 and ‘95-’96 men’s basketball teams, were inducted into the Santa Clara Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 13. Nash led the Broncos to three NCAA Tournament appearances during his time at Santa Clara before making his mark in the NBA. The two-time MVP currently serves as a Player Development Consultant for the Golden State Warriors and as the general manager for the Canadian National Team. Nash answered questions from a small group of reporters prior to the event.
Q: What’s it like to be back?
A: It’s great to be back. Obviously I don’t get to come back that much and not because I wouldn’t want to be here more often, but life takes over with so many commitments and kids and basically you become an Uber driver for your children. (It’s) fantastic to have a reason to be back.
Q: What’s it been like to have all your (teammates) back together?
A: It’s great. It’s great to see everybody be back together. I came in with a class of seven freshmen so we’re extremely close, even still by the 20 year standards of college teams. But even the other guys that we don’t get to see as much or stay in contact as much, it’s like no time has passed.
And it’s fantastic to be back together and it kind of speaks to how close our teams were and how important it was to us to build a team and be a part of this university.
Q: Were there any lessons or takeaways that you learned at Santa Clara that prepared you for your time in the NBA?
A: Santa Clara was an incredibly impressionable experience for me. I learned a lot. I came from high school in Canada, which nowadays is kind of a hotbed, but at the time it was definitely not a hotbed. I had one scholarship offer. So to come here and play Division I basketball was everything I ever wanted and dreamed of. And it was also the challenge of a lifetime in many respects cause I had goals of playing in the next level.
So it was a place that I credit for a lot of my successes, a lot of my lessons—life lessons and basketball lessons.
Cause for me they’re the same. You know the things I learned about myself as a basketball player are as impactful or more as a person. And mean more to me as a person. Because basketball’s a sport; it’s a game, but the things I learned on the basketball court here offered me so much in life that I feel really fortunate that I was able to come to such a great university.
Q: You were around two of our top coaches we had here (Carroll Williams & Dick Davey). What was that like?
A: Yeah, I mean fortune was a huge part of my career. What a pleasure to be a part of an institution that had such little change for so long. I was really lucky to be a part of. It had a real culture and understanding—and the fabric of the school was very unique. And so to be a part of the Santa Clara family as an institution and to be part of that culture of basketball which was becoming an institution because of Carroll’s longevity and Dick (Davey) transferring that culture into the next generation was a perfect opportunity for me to feel—to be in a stable place.
You know, I was kind of a wildcard—(they) took a chance on a kid from Canada. You know they didn’t know this, but I wanted to play in the NBA and they gave me a chance to be at least a good college player and to play for a stable college coaching environment. And Dick didn’t care about what the media said or what parents thought, he was going to do it his way. And that kind of stability is so rare. And coaches are always trying to save their job, whereas Dick was like, ‘No. I’m going to coach the way I coach.’ And to have that type of stability and vision taught me so much.
Q: Kurt (Rambis) mentioned that you’re someone who’s had to get better and change. How does that help you now? How does that impact what you’re doing today with the player development?
A: Well I mean I think for me, I mean player development is something that I think is important and I’m passionate about (it). But really I’m just a sounding board for everyone up in the Warriors. I’m happy to help and get involved with players, but I’m also just there as a sounding board for the coaching staff, players—whatever they need. Be able to impart perhaps some of the experiences I had in my career, behind the scenes. And you know with the Canadian national program as well, most importantly I just think it’s great to give back. And to be able to have a long career as I had and to be able to pass that knowledge and experience onto young players is something I feel obligated to do and I enjoy doing so. I’m just here to help where I can.
Q: Kind of as far as your campus experience goes. I read a story about you once dribbling a tennis ball around campus. You were a sociology major here. Give me a couple memories kind of off the basketball court here at Santa Clara.
A: Yeah I think the tennis ball thing is something I did once or twice—a handful of times. Like it was blown out of proportion a little bit but I think what it spoke to was I had an insatiable drive to get better and to push my craft to the limits. And I was in gym at all hours when I could be and I think that was more important than the actual fact that I did dribble a tennis ball around campus once in a blue moon.
And the experience here was just one of dreams. You know I made it from Canada, which at the time, you know, on the west coast of Canada there was very few kids getting scholarships. Nowadays that’s completely different. So to get the opportunity to play here and to challenge myself against some of the best schools in America. We always play one of the toughest schedules in the country… So I look back on my experience here as something that was incredible, impactful and influential on my life and the relationships I built as well are still to this day as important as they come. So (it was) a fantastic experience and I’m proud to go in the Hall of Fame and be here with my teammates.
Q: Does (the campus) still feel the same?
A: It doesn’t feel that much the same. I mean it’s still got the bones. I mean it’s changed so much in 20 years—for the better. But you know the footprints are still there and you still feel you know, the spaces and the walkways and the memories. But the campus has been improved in incredible amounts. So I’m really proud of the institution and where we go forward as well.
Contact Andrew Slap at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.