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Sunday, November 28, 2004

Steve Nash stuff

[Still a Nash fan, wish he was still around ... sigh ...]

Body of evidence

Summer regimen credited for Nash's start

Paul Coro
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 24, 2004 12:00 AM

The average NBA player is slightly taller than 6 feet, 7 inches, weighs slightly more than 224 pounds and plays an average of 4 1/2 years.

Eleven games into his ninth season, Suns point guard Steve Nash is both way above and below average. At 6 feet 3 and 195 pounds, Nash is small by NBA standards. At 30, he is old by Suns standards. Yet Nash is averaging nearly 36 minutes per game for the league's youngest team, and he says he is in the best shape of his life.

"He's changed his body around more than anybody I've seen go from college to the pros, and became quicker," Los Angeles Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.

Nash credits a "revolutionary" workout program designed to develop specific basketball muscles, enhance coordination - especially between the upper and lower body - and prevent injuries.

Vancouver physiotherapist Rick Celebrini, who played pro soccer with Nash's brother, developed the program for Nash after years of rehabilitating athletes. He wanted to try to prevent injuries rather than help athletes heal from them.

Celebrini began by analyzing Nash's four athletic movements - forward/backward, lateral, diagonal and rotational motion - to see how he could make them more efficient.

This was more than curls and crunches. It was training tied to practical basketball moves. For example, Nash was stronger planting and turning off one foot than the other. Celebrini retaught Nash the move to make him equally quick and powerful off both sides.

Nash worked out five hours a day, five days a week during the off-season, with a 2 1/2-hour workout on Saturdays. A typical morning session would encompass a series of plyometric drills and sprints before Nash would perform the same exercises with weighted tubes around his ankles and a weighted vest on his chest.

The idea was to keep Nash's form consistent despite physical taxation.

"More than anything, what I did was core work. I've always worked hard to get in shape to make sure I can play every game," said Nash, who played every game for Dallas in 2001-02 and 2002-03 and missed only four games last season. "It's really valuable to me to play in as many games as I can."

To Celebrini, the "core" is more than just the body's midsection. It is an "integration center" for the upper and lower body. If Nash is dribbling fast, coordinating his hands and feet, he also may have to shield off a defender with his upper body. That requires core muscles.

When he shoots, his motor skills must have a consistent base of support, again relying on core muscles.

"The players who can do that without compromising stability or mobility are the athletes who succeed and stay injury free," Celebrini said. "You need raw strength and quickness, but if you don't have proper patterns, it becomes inefficient."

Nash signed up for Celebrini's program after the Suns gave him a six-year deal worth up to $66 million. A part of him worked to honor the Suns' commitment to him. A part of him wanted to refute a contention of his former boss, Dallas owner Mark Cuban.

"It's that kamikaze spirit and approach to the game that is Steve's greatest weakness," Cuban wrote July 3 on his Web site, explaining why Dallas didn't make more of an effort to re-sign Nash. " . . . Our feeling was that we were fortunate that Steve had been so injury free, that it was only a matter of time before his style of play caught up with him."

It hasn't caught him yet. Nash leads the NBA in assists and trails only his greatest benefactor, Amaré Stoudemire, in shooting. He is shooting 57 percent and is averaging 16.2 points and 11.6 assists.

"We've got the youngest team in the NBA, and I'm not sure if he's not one of the youngest," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said of his second-oldest player. "He has a great body and attitude. It's usually the mind that burns out, not the body."

Nash's physiotherapist is not concerned about any sort of burnout.

"With his focus and mental discipline, without a doubt, Steve can be looking at another contract (at age 36)," Celebrini said.

[... sigh ...]

Short blurb from the AZ Republic ...

Steve Nash butting in when head coach Mike D'Antoni tried to end practice early last week. Nash took a few moments to show teammates how to dribble out of the corners against zone defenses, thus forcing the movement of interior defenders and creating space for Shawn Marion or Amaré Stoudemire.

It was impressive and reassuring, and something you never would have seen from the departed Stephon Marbury, who couldn't tell a zone defense from a zone blitz.

[... sigh ...]

OUT LOUD: Steve Nash
November 23, 2004

The new Sun (and new dad) talks love and war with Steve Rosenbloom in Phoenix.

It was a great learning experience for me (the sustained booing he took from Dallas fans).

It made me realize more clearly the nature of professional sports. It's tongue-in-cheek. Don't take yourself too seriously and don't take this whole deal too seriously. It's just a game.

We had twins. Two little girls -- Bella and Lola. It's a little hard when you get to the gym and you're exhausted. But when you wake up in the middle of the night to see those little suckers, it's the greatest thing in the world.

I've always prefaced everything I say by saying I am Canadian and in some ways that denounces my right to have an opinion, and in some ways my right is just as valid and important because of the global community and our relationship with the United States. Although we didn't support the war in Canada, we are very grateful and thankful for our relationship and many of the benefits the United States offers us.

But I'm against war.

Just the way it went down, I made it clear I thought we could've exhausted all possibilities before then. To me, I just didn't buy the link. It seemed very transparent to me the link to Al-Qaeda.

The people that generally had a problem with what I said didn't listen close to what I said. It is a democracy and freedom of speech is a part of the Constitution, I believe.

You could do no wrong in my mom's eyes.

My dad played professional soccer in England and South Africa. My first word was "Goal."

I used to play chess with my dad. When I told him that there was a chess tournament at school, he said, "You better play in it," and I won it for four of five years in elementary school. Chess kind of lost its priority after that.

When I was in high school, I'd just dribble. If I was going to a friend's house, I'd just dribble. If we were going to play ball, instead of riding a bike, I'd dribble.

There was a University of Victoria, and me and my friends used to jimmy the doors so that when they closed up, we could get in. Friday night, instead of drinking beers at the beach, we'd sneak in, and it'd be World War III and they had no idea. This was when we were 13.

My basketball heroes were Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan.

A lot of schools had been notified (when he was looking for a college scholarship), a few had seen me play, but maybe they didn't trust their eyes. "It can't be what I think it is because it's a little white guy from Canada."

I don't see the international players being anything except evolutionary to the game.

I love passing the ball. Passing the ball, you feel good and the guy who scores feels good, so two is better than one in my book. If I wanted to just make myself feel good all the time, I'd have played golf or tennis.

Edmonton Oilers with Gretzky, my hero. I met him at a tournament. Spent a day and night with him. One of the greatest days of my life.

He (when Dallas signed Dennis Rodman) didn't say a word to anybody unless it was during a game when the lights were on, when the cameras were on. He wouldn't even say, "Good morning." I think guys were a little disappointed in that. But he's on his own deal, so what do you expect?

I'm trying to cut it shorter (His famous hair). My girlfriend certainly likes it longer.

Those rumors (his supposed relationships with Elizabeth Hurley and Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice) -- it's embarrassing. It makes me like it was contrived or like I enjoyed that. They were totally blown out of proportion.

Be yourself. It's pretty simple. And have fun.

[... sigh ...]

Nash articles pepper the AZ press.
Nash articles pepper the Canadian press.
Even Charley Rosen is impressed.

[... sigh ... FK]


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