DALLAS _ One person who was very glad to see the Dallas Mavericks win the NBA title last season was Steve Nash.
One of the more popular players in Mavs’ history, Nash cheered from afar as the Mavs beat Miami last June in six games to capture the franchise’s first NBA championship. Close friends with forward Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd, Nash now plays for the Phoenix Suns, but will always have fond memories of his days toiling for the Mavs.
Nash describes what the Mavs were able to accomplish as “amazing,’’ as he had fun watching them knock out the Heat.
“To see Dirk and Jason win a title is exciting, one, but two, especially I think the both of them have been with this franchise a long time,’’ Nash said after this morning’s shoot around. “Jason in two parts, and Dirk from Day One.
“So to see guys who mean a lot to the community and mean a lot to a franchise over the years kind of turn that corner and win a championship was, I don’t know if it’s justification or what you may call it. But it was kind of sweet and I’m just happy for those guys and happy for the city.’’
Nash played for the Mavs from 1998-’04 until he left via free agency to sign with the Suns. He wanted to stay, but the Mavs weren’t willing to meet his contract demands, mainly because they thought he was on the downside of his career.
But Nash captured back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player awards in 2005 and ’06 and still remains a solid contributor for the Suns.
The Mavs advanced to the NBA Finals in 2006 when they beat Nash and the Suns in the Western Conference Finals before losing to Miami in six games in the championship series. But the Mavs returned the favor and thumped the Heat in last year’s Finals.
Does Nash feel like he missed out on a championship ring with the Mavs?
“Whenever you get close you feel a little bit like you missed out on one,’’ Nash said. “But as far as missing out on Dallas’ championship, it’s hard to say that, since it was seven years after I left.
“I played here six years, which seems like a long, and then I was gone seven years by the time they won a championship. So it’s really hard to feel like you missed one when (seven years) is a career for most people.’’
Most of all, Nash was delighted that Nowitzki was finally able to get over the hump and get a championship ring and silence his critics.
“So many guys have come and gone since I’ve even been here, and to watch Dirk be that central figure that was able to galvanize a group and be able to take them all the way was special,’’ Nash said. “But for me it didn’t feel like I missed anything.
“(Winning the title) can be a once in a lifetime thing. Not everybody gets the opportunity, so for the fans, the players, it’s just exciting for them and kind of the celebration and enjoyment they get afterwards.’’
-- Dwain Price
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