Steve Nash spoke out prior to Tuesday’s game against the Timberwolves in the wake of the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota.
When asked whether Nash was conflicted to play Tuesday in the wake of the incident - a day after the initial postponement of the game - he responded by talking about the depth and importance of meaningful change being deeper than a basketball game.
“It’s a tough one. Okay, we don’t play today. If we’re not playing for the right reasons, that’s one-hundred percent great but what does it change if we do play today or don’t play today. Meaningful change needs to come at some point and we can debate whether not playing today would bring meaningful change but I think meaningful change is much, much deeper than a basketball game,” Nash said. “What can we do to support meaningful change and those are conversations that don’t think pivot on one game.
“I’d be all for not playing today if there was a step-by-step procedural reasoning behind why. I’m not sure we have that clarity as to what it would change. We all want change and I’m not sure that this game, played or not, is going to bring about that change. It’s a much bigger issue than a basketball game and that’s the tricky part of this. Before you know it, we’ll be in Philly then back home and then be in the next city. This poor kid lost his life. A baby lost his father. It’s sickening.”
Nash referred to the latest shooting as “more tragedy. More senseless tragedy” noting the devastating pattern of people losing their lives for no reason.
“More tragedy. More senseless tragedy. It’s just heartbreaking for everyone in a civilization that behaves this way. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be African American, to be an African American parent - it’s unacceptable. It’s devastating to put yourself in their shoes and it’s devastating to be a part of it. We’re all a part of this community, civilization and culture. It’s the same thing over and over again and people are losing their lives for no reason. It’s been happening for hundreds of years and we’re still here in 2021,” Nash said. “It’s a tough time. It’s a tough time for basketball to be at the forefront but at the same time, we have to move forward and take care of our responsibilities amidst such a devastating situation.”
From Nash to the players to everyone around the world, the devastating part is the lack of change. The Nets head coach spoke about how the team supports their players on and off the court through these devastating and tough times.
“It’s one of those difficult situations where what’s new. How many times in their careers have they faced the situation like this. This just happens to be where we’re in Minnesota when another event happens on top of what happened last year. Its a terrible, terrible situation. The players, in some respects, basketball is a little bit of solace where they have some control and it’s just a really difficult situation. We’re here for them but there’s not a ton of conversation to be had in a sense. We’ve been talking about this for a few years now at minimum in the NBA.
“We’re here for them. We’re here to support them on and off the court. They know that. We tried to create an environment where they feel the support, the challenge, the hope, the striving and they can continue to find reward in what they do everyday,” Nash said. “That extends not just on the court, practice court, locker room but off the court as well. We’re here for them.
Nash, whose parents left aparheid South Africa when he was very young, spoke about U.S. society having the sad reality of moving forward, which is worrisome in a sense to the Nets head coach when no change continues to follow.
“The sad reality is that we keep moving forward. All of us are programmed to keep moving forward and it keeps happening. That’s worrisome in a sense. We all want to play. We all want to do our job. We all love what we do but it is worrisome that life keeps moving forward but nothing really changes,” Nash said. “It’s a lot of conflict internally for everybody.”
When asked to recall the timing of Monday’s postponement, Nash said he and the Nets were waiting from the league for the official word following hearing from the Timberwolves expressing their interest not to play the game.
“We just heard from the Timberwolves that they didn’t think it was appropriate to play the game. We were waiting then to see what the league wanted us to do,” Nash said. “That’s basically all that happened. We waited and they announced we’d play today and then announced that we’ll let you know what time this morning. We waited to find out and here we are.”
In terms of basketball, the rescheduling of Monday’s game forged a back-to-back for the Nets, which features a tough contest against the Sixers Wednesday. Nash noted how the scheduling change changes everything for the team. Brooklyn will evaluate their player availabilities Wednesday morning.
“It does change everything for us,” Nash said. “I don’t think we’re going to make any definitive decisions now. We’ll wait to see what the morning holds but we know that we weren’t trying to play guys in back-to-backs. We’ll have to digest all the variables in the morning and figure out what happens tomorrow night but it changes our approach to everything and put us in a different position.”
For James Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge, both didn’t travel on the road trip to Minnesota. Instead, both player remained home and are recovering as quickly as possible.
“They stayed home. We have them working out, limiting their travel and just trying to get them recovered as quickly as possible,” Nash said.