THE 6'3", 195-POUND point guard was leading the NBA with an average of 11.7 assists and also averaging 19.1 points for a team that was 46--14 through Sunday. Nash, a Victoria, B.C., native, who has twin two-year-old daughters with his wife, Alejandra, says the prospect of another MVP (he's won it in each of the past two seasons) isn't what drives him. "It's a great award and I'm proud of it, but the true motivation is to be the best player I can be for my teammates."
"MY FIRST word was goal," says Nash, shown here at about age 10 in his city team uniform. "Soccer was really big. We'd sit on my doorstep every day and wait for my father [John, who had played semipro soccer] to come home at five o'clock so we could play in the backyard. My dad also taught me to root for Tottenham," adds Nash of the English Premier League team that won a dramatic game on Sunday. "I still root for them."
"I PLAYED hockey from age five to 13," says the former center, who starred on a travel team based in Victoria. "I stopped because all of my friends were playing basketball. I played hockey the way that I play basketball: I always tried to draw two players and find the open man. I was with my [younger] brother Martin on the same team for a few years and I loved it—except for getting up at five in the morning to go to the rink."
"AT SANTA CLARA coach Dick Davey emphasized mental toughness, being able to not let your performance be affected by a mistake," says the Broncos' alltime assists leader who had his number retired at the school last September. "We had a tight bunch of guys who lived together. The funniest was when Coach Davey challenged the whole team to a fight during practice. I would say that he was fairly ticked off."
"THEY PUT me in a group with Bonds," says Nash, who took batting practice with the Giants last year through his friend, San Francisco outfielder Randy Winn. "I really respect what baseball players do, and the way that they expend their energy in an every-day grind." The Giants recognized him instantly and gave him a warm reception. " Willie Mays asked me to sign baseballs for him," Nash recalls. "I thought he was joking."