Steve Nash returns to Phoenix on Wednesday night for the first time as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers — the uncomfortable convergence of the player who Suns’ fans most loved with the team they most love to hate.
It’s no ordinary homecoming — as you might have noticed from the $75 price tag placed on the cheapest seats in the house.
What will the reception at US Airways Center be like? We’ll find out on Wednesday night.
What should it be like? We canvassed some longtime Suns watchers at FOX Sports Arizona to get their opinions.
Jody Jackson, reporter/host, FOX Sports Arizona
When Steve Nash returns to Phoenix on Wednesday, Suns fans should show him nothing but love.
I realize it will be hard to stomach Nash in a Lakers uniform on the US Airways Center court. The right thing to do is to thank him for all that he did for the franchise.
Nash is the reason why the Phoenix Suns were not only in contention, but one of the most entertaining teams in the NBA. With Nash leading the way the Suns took three trips to the Conference Finals, while he earned MVP honors twice. He was a great ambassador for this community.
If you can find it in your heart, show gratitude, not bitterness.
After all, his only crime was thinking the Lakers could deliver the ring he deserves.
Jack Magruder, writer, FOXSportsArizona.com
Nash will get a prolonged standing ovation when he is introduced
tonight. He should get a statue. Or maybe a key to the franchise. With
apologies to his honor Kevin Johnson, Nash is the best point guard in
franchise history, and I bet even Johnson would agree.
brilliance is in his ability to see two or three moves ahead – he did
with a basketball what countryman Wayne Gretzky did with a puck. Nash
made every one of his teammates better every time they played, and the
proof is in the dropoff that occurred when they went elsewhere. Sort of
like the dropoff we see here now that he is gone.
Josh Kelman, producer, FOX Sports Arizona
On April 25th, I sent out this foreboding Tweet:
part of a break-up is seeing the ex with someone new. Suns fans should
brace themselves for worst-case: Steve Nash in a Lakers jersey.”
Seventy-one days later, Nash successfully brokered, the deal and the nightmare scenario came true.
the sad ending in Wayne’s World? Wayne (Suns) gets dumped by longtime
girlfriend Cassandra (Nash), she leaves him for the evil and handsome
Benjamin (Lakers), who says, “I always knew you were small-time” and
gives Cassandra the most incredible night of her life. Meanwhile, Wayne
and Garth are nearly killed in a spontaneous electrical fire (the Dan
Majerle exodus), leaving Wayne screaming to the cosmos, “Why God? WHY?”
(incidentally, EXACT thoughts of every Suns fan.)
In the movie,
Wayne stops the sad storyline and gives us the “megahappy ending,” which
for Suns fans would mean: Nash decides he can’t live without Phoenix, a
judge nullifies Robert Sarver’s purchase of the team, returning it to
Jerry Colangelo. and together Jerry and Steve back-to-back NBA
Championships and 700,000 people watch the Suns ride atop the Light Rail
through downtown Phoenix on a June day that’s only 85 degrees.
That didn’t happen because only Los Angeles gets the Hollywood ending.
In real life, Rob Lowe is a Lakers fan.
To paraphrase Lowe’s Benjamin in the sad ending, “You didn’t really think he’d end up with the Suns, did you?”
Tyler Lockman, writer, FOXSportsArizona.com
It’s easy to see why Suns fans might have mixed feelings about Steve Nash’s return to Phoenix in a Lakers jersey. They loved Nash, and he left for a hated rival.
But to me the reception Nash gets at US Airways Center on Wednesday ought to be anything but mixed, and it should be cheers — perhaps even a standing ovation.
Nash helped give Suns fans some of the best seasons the franchise has seen, including two MVP campaigns. He honored his commitment to the Suns despite their descent into mediocrity the past two seasons, never once complaining or asking out like so many stars have in recent years.
When the time came for Nash to figure out his next step, it was clear the Suns were going in a different direction, one that was not a fit for him. To stay close to his young children, he asked for a sign-and-trade to the Lakers. Can fans really begrudge him for that?
However, once the game begins, Nash is the opponent and should be treated as such.
Dave Lumia, digital content manager, FOXSportsArizona.com
Rejection stinks. Betrayal, sleeping with the enemy, is so much worse.
So, it’d be easy to take it out on Steve Nash when he shows up wearing the other guy’s purple inside the Purple Palace.
But I won’t.
Stevie Wonderful was the consummate Sun during his two tenures here — an exemplary representative of the city and the franchise. He’s the best to ever put on the Suns uniform with one possible exception — and he did it without the flaws of said exception (who happened to wear No. 34, in case you don’t know to which Mound of Rebound I’m referring).
He played with grace and artistry. He presided over one of two golden eras in the team’s history. He energized the team and its fans and was a likable fellow to boot.
And when the magic ran out on his era, just as with Charles Barkley, it wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t his decision to bail on us. The team needed to go in another direction, and so did he.
Oh how I wish he had gone in any of 28 other NBA directions, but the dreaded Lakers were the best choice for him. I don’t have to like it, but given all that he’s done for the Suns and their fans, I’m giving Steve Nash a no-look, behind-the-back pass.
Welcome back, Steve. We miss you. I don’t like your teammates, but I wish you all the best.