Tonight, Canadian hoopster Steve Nash kicked off another Western Conference Final with the Phoenix Suns, leading his squad at the age of 36 — some six years after the Dallas Mavericks opted not to sign him because he was aging.
Regardless of the outcome of this series and the season as a whole for the Suns, though, Nash’s contributions and representation of Canada in the NBA is truly historic.
The two-time MVP and seven-time All-Star hasn’t lost a step, still leading the Suns as the fastest moving offense in the league and forcing defenders to keep up with him and his famously wild hair. And in the last series, Nash’s toughness was put to the test as he suffered a serious eye injury that left him with a right eye that was swollen shut and required six stitches. Still, he finished the game and led his team to a victorious series.
For his efforts on and off the court, Nash is our Canadian of the Week, and the Suns are our pick to make it to the NBA Finals.
Since the day I started serving up these weekly Canadian Heritage Minutes I’ve been longing for the start of the NCAA Championship Tournament to unleash what is one of the greatest 60-second segments I’ve seen: Canadian James Naismith’s invention of the game of basketball.
Naismith was born in Ramsay Township, which is now known a Almone, Ontario, and attended McGill University in Montreal before moving to Massachusetts. While working at a YMCA in Springfield (now home of the Basketball Hall of Fame), Naismith invented the game of basketball as a way to keep athletes in shape and active during the northeast’s harsh winter.
Using a pair of peach baskets as the “goals,” Naismith put together his 13 basic rules for the game, and the rest is history.
In the video, Naismith teaches his American students the game and makes a couple of discoveries: 1) A player must be allowed a couple of steps without dribbling, and, 2) they had to put holes in the bottoms of the peach baskets.