In honour of Steve Nash being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday, we're rolling out Nash Week! Each day we'll be celebrating his finest moments and looking back at what makes him one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game.
Today, we're taking a look at Nash's impact on the current generation of Canadian players.
Nash is undoubtedly the best player to ever hail from Canada, and his Hall of Fame career served as inspiration for some of today's most recognizable talents. Even after his playing career, Nash has made his presence felt by serving as the GM of the Canadian National Team and mentoring young Canadian players.
From Andrew Wiggins to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada's best has had a number of positive things to say about the two-time MVP.
Andrew Wiggins (Toronto, Ont.) - Minnesota Timberwolves
In a 2015 interview with Los Angeles News Group, Wiggins said that "[Nash] is making other people want to play basketball in Canada, whether it's him being a mentor or a role model for Canadians. I want to make the same impact he made."
Tristan Thompson (Brampton, Ont.) - Cleveland Cavaliers
"Seeing is believing,'' Thompson said in a 2013 interview with Cleveland.com. "Obviously, Steve Nash making the NBA and becoming a two-time MVP gave us the hope that if we work hard, we might have a chance to just be in the NBA. Seeing his success gave us hope.''
Jamal Murray (Kitchener, Ont.) - Denver Nuggets
"I really pride myself on playing for Canada and representing the country in any way I can. It is humbling to be considered in that category," Murray said in an interview with Sportsnet's Donnovan Bennett. "You know you got Steve Nash, who is an all-time favourite of mine and a Hall of Famer, he was considered to own that category for his entire career. He changed the game to the point that now there are so many Canadians playing to debate about."
Cory Joseph (Toronto, Ont.) - Indiana Pacers
In a 2016 feature with CBC, Joseph added that "Steve was huge for Canada Basketball. What he was doing in the league and what he was doing for Team Canada opened a lot of young kids eyes - [me] being one of those guys, he definitely inspired us."
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Hamilton, Ont.) - Los Angeles Clippers
Ahead of the 2018 NBA Draft, Gilgeous-Alexander joined Evan Daniels' podcast and spoke on Nash being a mentor on and off the floor: "He's said a couple of things that I would probably like to keep a secret, because I use those to my advantage when I play guys."
The Clippers rookie added, "He's also taught me things like once you get to that level, your image is just as important and you're always being watched because of where you are. You need to act like a professional at all times, regardless of the situation that you are in, and that's helped me a lot."
Kelly Olynyk (Kamloops, BC) - Miami Heat
Olynyk told Masslive.com in 2014 the depth of Nash's influence on basketball in Canada: "It's huge. You can't measure it, really. [Nash has] been there the last few summers. And really, any time he's in the gym, you can just tell people are watching him. He's the ultimate professional. His work ethic and his dedication to the game is unbelievable. He kind of instilled that in not only me, but a lot of other Canadian players throughout the summers with the national teams."
Nik Stauskas (Mississauga, Ont.) - Portland Trail Blazers
In an interview prior to the 2014 NBA Draft, Stauskas indicated that "Steve was one of those guys I really looked up to…Steve being from Canada then being a two-time MVP, it kind of just gave a lot of us hope…it was cool for all of us kids growing up seeing that."