Nash Passes KJ Into First on Suns Dish List
Posted: Feb. 2, 2012
When Steve Nash began his NBA career back in 1996, he was the third point guard on the Suns’ depth chart. Now he’s officially the best passer in franchise history.
As a rookie, Nash looked up to Suns legend Kevin Johnson, who he backed up in the club’s rotation. Fast forward to the present, and now Johnson is looking up at Nash, literally.
En route to a 30-point and 10-assist Wednesday night that saw the visiting Suns defeat the Hornets, Nash surpassed Kevin Johnson's mark of 6,518 career assists, moving into first place on the Suns’ all-time assists list.
"To be honest, it pales in comparison to getting the win," Nash told the Associated Press after the game. "The things that really matter about (the record) is: One, to be up there with Kevin, who was a great, great player and deserves a lot of credit for what type of player he was. And then the other one, just I love the city and organization and to do it for the Suns is a real honor. But other than that I'm just glad the team got the win."
When the two-time MVP reminisces about his early days in the NBA, he recalls the competitiveness that Johnson played with and the belief that the current Sacramento mayor instilled in him. Johnson encouraged Nash, reminding him that he was just as talented as anyone else in the league.
“Kevin was great to learn and watch from,” Nash said. “I got a lot of confidence from being around him. It was a great opportunity to learn from him.”
Johnson has held the record since April 2, 1993, when he passed Suns great Alvan Adams, the franchise’s previous all-time leader. But after standing unbeaten for nearly 19 years, the Suns assist title now lies in Nash’s hands.
To put his excellence in perspective, no player since the start of the 2004-05 season has more assists than Nash: nor does any player since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, the 2006-07 season, the 2007-08 season, the 2008-09 season, the 2009-10 season, the 2010-11 season or this season.
And not only is he writing himself into the Suns’ record books, the club’s co-captain is also etching himself into the league’s. Nash now has 9,441 assists in his NBA career, which ranks sixth all-time in the NBA.
The “Canadian Kid” is only 446 assists behind Oscar Robertson for fifth all-time and 600 behind Magic Johnson for fourth place amongst the NBA’s all-time assist leaders. Not bad for a guy that started out as a third-stringer.
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