Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash addresses white privilege, lack of experience and relationship with star players in introductory press conference

#Steve Nash

Steve Nash was officially introduced as the newest head coach of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.

The two-time league MVP looked poised and confident answering the various questions from the media, after all, Nash spent almost two decades as a player in the same circumstance.

Nash sat alongside general manager Sean Marks answering questions which included his lack of coaching experience and having "skipped the line" to earn the Nets job.

"Well I did skip the line frankly," Nash told reporters. "But at the same time, I think leading an NBA team for almost two decades is pretty unique.

MORE: What Steve Nash's head coaching job with the Brooklyn Nets could mean for the next wave of Canadian coaches

"So while I haven't necessarily learned some of the skills that I'll definitely seek to understand as far as the technical aspect of coaching, you know I was never far from that. So to lead a team in such a unique position to be the head of the team on the floor to think on the fly to manage personalities and people, skillsets and bring people together, collaborating with a coach and a coaching staff for almost two decades it's not like I was in a vacuum. I learned a tremendous amount during my career, I haven't grinded it out as an assistant coach like many people's path but there's a precedence for players who have strong careers, who are leaders...thinkers to get this opportunity."

Nash referenced Steve Kerr as an example of a former player who had little to no coaching experience and landed on the sidelines as a head coach and had great success. He also made a point to say he'll be leaning on his coaching staff for help, but he did continue to call it what it is: a unique situation.

So unique that some have brought up the question of whether or not Nash was a beneficiary of white privilege. While the Canadian admits he has benefited from white privilege in the past he felt he did have the credentials to earn such a high profile position and hopes to continue to be an ally in the fight for equality.

"I have benefitted from white privilege," Nash said. "Our society has a lot of ground to make up.

"I'm not saying that this position was a factor as far as white privilege being a factor. I think as white people we have to understand that we are served a privilege and a benefit by the colour of our skin in our communities and we have a long way to go to find equality. And social and racial justice.

"I hope that I'm a great ally to that cause. This is something that (Nets Owners) Clara and Joe Tsai have really made an incredible gesture to help within our organization but also our communities to help stem the gap in racial injustice.

"I'm very sensitive to the cause and the goal."

Nash continued to say that he understood why the topic is important to bring to light and that there is a need for more opportunity for Black coaches and staff in all capacities. He credited commissioner Adam Silver for being on the frontline to continue to fight for equality and hopes that he could continue to be a part of that as well.

Next season the Nets will have lofty expectations with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both expected to make their return to the lineup. Much has been written about Nash's relationship with Durant as the two got to know each other while they were both with the Golden State Warriors, but Nash went out of his way to gush about how much he admires his new point guard Irving.

"Kyrie's one of my favourite players of all-time," Nash said. " He's brilliant. Skill level historically off the charts. Creative, guts, competitiveness - so for me to get to coach him is really a pleasure.

"We have a relationship going back to when he was a rookie, playing against him. Got a chance to train him for a couple of days in New York City after I retired - must have been five, six years ago.

"And I've gotten the chance to speak with him since taking the job. I'm excited to develop that relationship - watch him continue to show greatness on the floor and get to know him in a really meaningful way."

The start of next season and how it will look is still unknown as the world at large still attempts to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic.

But there is a palpable buzz being felt in Brooklyn. Whether or not Nash can deliver a championship for the Nets remains to be seen, but the expectations of a ring will likely be there on opening night.

It's the type of pressure Nash has thrived under in the past, the only difference is he won't be able to affect the results in a jersey. He'll have to settle for a clean looking suit.

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