Steve Nash becomes 1st Canadian player elected to FIBA Hall of Fame

·3 min read
Canada's Steve Nash celebrates his team's 91-77 victory over Spain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The basketball star became the first Canadian elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame on Tuesday. (Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Canada's Steve Nash celebrates his team's 91-77 victory over Spain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The basketball star became the first Canadian elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame on Tuesday. (Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press - image credit)

It's been over 20 years since Canada's Steve Nash starred in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but the point guard is still earning accolades.

The two-time NBA MVP and Brooklyn Nets head coach became the first Canadian player elected into the FIBA Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

Nash participated in several international competitions over his playing career, including the 1993 world championships on home soil and the 1999 AmeriCup, where Canada solidified its Olympic spot with a second-place finish.

Still, the 47-year-old, who was born in South Africa but calls Victoria, B.C., home, may be best known internationally for his performance in Australia.

Nash, inducted to the basketball Hall of Fame in 2018, averaged 13.7 points, 6.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds over seven games at the 2000 Olympics, helping Canada finish first in its round-robin group with memorable wins over Spain and reigning world champions Yugoslavia.

WATCH | Nash reminisces on lone Olympic experience:

But Canada's medal hopes were quickly dashed with a 68-63 loss to France in the quarter-final, leaving Nash in tears as he exited the court.

That wound up being the peak of Nash's international career, as Canada fell just short of qualification for the 2004 Games before the eight-time NBA all-star stopped played for his country, reportedly due to the firing of head coach Jay Triano.

Eight years later, in 2012 and still an active NBA player, Nash was named general manager of Team Canada. He served in that role for nearly seven years before stepping back into a senior adviser role in 2019, when was replaced as GM by Olympic teammate Rowan Barrett.

Nash is the godfather of Barrett's son R.J. Barrett, a New York Knicks forward who could play a part in Canada's Tokyo Olympic hopes. The team begins a last-chance qualification tournament June 29 in Victoria, which it must win to book its ticket to Japan.

Nash was also one of the final torchbearers in the lead-up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, helping light the cauldron at the opening ceremony.

Other Canadians in the FIBA Hall include pioneer James Naismith, coach Jack Donohue and referee Allen Rae.

Joining Nash as headliners of the latest class are American coach Tara VanDerveer, the winningest coach in NCAA women's basketball history, Serbian coach Svetislav Pesic and Ukrainian player Alexander Volkov.

Twelve inductees in total were called to the Hall Tuesday, each hailing from a different country. They represent the 2020 class, with last year's scheduled announcement postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 class is set to be named Thursday, with all inductees being enshrined together during a virtual ceremony in June.

Full 2020 class

Players

  • Isabelle Fijalkowski, France

  • Mieczyslaw Lopatka, Poland

  • Steve Nash, Canada

  • Agnes Nemeth, Hungary

  • Park Shin-ja, Korea

  • Modestas Paulauskas, Lithuania

  • Kenichi Sako, Japan

  • Alexander Volkov, Ukraine

  • Jure Zdovc, Slovenia

Coaches

  • Ruben Magnano, Argentina

  • Svetislav Pesic, Serbia

  • Tara VanDerveer, U.S.