From Victoria, British Columbia to Brooklyn, New York…via Phoenix, Arizona.
The career path of Canadian basketball legend Steve Nash has landed the Hall of Famer in the head coaching role of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets.
The former two-time MVP point guard was hired Thursday.
“Coaching is something I knew I wanted to pursue when the time was right, and I am humbled to be able to work with the outstanding group of players and staff we have here in Brooklyn," Nash said in a statement.
“What a winning hire. You got an MVP. He’s respected throughout the league,” says University of Alberta Golden Bears Head Coach, Barnaby Craddock.
Widely considered the greatest Canadian talent to ever play professional basketball, Nash achieved Hall of Fame status as a member of the Phoenix Suns while also playing internationally for Canada.
“I think Nash is a role model for all the kids everywhere and Canadian youth in particular for someone that maximized their abilities. Obviously not the tallest, biggest, quickest athlete. Made it to be a two-time MVP of the NBA,” added Craddock.
But the hiring of a rookie Canadian head coach didn’t come without controversy.
"This is white privilege. This does not happen for a Black man," said ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
While Smith added that Nash is widely respected and loved by many in the NBA, he questioned how a former player with no experience on any level as a coach gets a high profile position in Brooklyn.
“Sometimes, you just want to scream, want to scream to the high heavens: How the hell is this always happening for somebody else other than us?” Smith exclaimed.
According to ESPN, Nets general manager Sean Marks said the difficult decision was based on Nash being viewed as a leader, communicator and mentor who is expected to garner the respect of the players.
Nash will be officially introduced online next week and one of the many watching will be Craddock, who wasn’t surprised at all by the hiring.
“The NBA has got a large history of hiring people without head coaching experience. From Tyrone Lue, Mark Jackson, Jason Kidd...I think Nash is the one that got the four year deal because they had to work so hard to get him to say yes. NBA teams have been trying to get Nash to be a coach forever."
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Adam Cook