Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hoops: Poetry in Motion

So I'm doing some work last night while the NBA playoffs were on the tube in the background. It happened to be the 1st half of the Phoenix Suns / LA Lakers game. I found myself ignoring my email and suddenly memorized by the amazing play of Steve Nash. I only watched the 1st half, but it was one of the most perfect halves of TEAM basketball I've seen at the NBA level in a LONG time. Of course I don't watch the NBA much anymore - but I was highly impressed. Nash was simply eye-opening, slashing, driving, never picking up the dribble unless something good was going to happen. I have never seen one guy find and setup up so many open shots in all my life.............. Now, maybe it had something to do with pitiful defense by LA, but the Suns were an impressive team. It seemed like EVERY trip down the floor someone got an open shot.

So I'm watching the 2-time MVP and I remembered something Bryan, one of my buds, told me while we were sitting in the upper deck in St.Louis watching Florida romp in the regionals on the way to their 2nd national title. He says - do you remember that Steve Nash played against GT back in 1995 at the Cable Car Classic... Somehow I just couldn't dig that one up from my memory. So a little bit of internet research and here you go - to relive the day.

Santa Clara 71, Georgia Tech 66 o December 30, 1995
Cable Car Classic o San Jose, Calif.
In a clash of heralded guards Steve Nash and Stephon Marbury, the Broncos defeat the eventual ACC champion Yellow Jackets in the consolation game of the Cable Car Classic at San Jose Arena. Santa Clara shot 52 percent in the second half and tied a school-record with 13 three-pointers. Marlon Garnett scored 21 points while senior Adam Anderson came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points. "It wasn't exactly a meeting of the gods, this first meeting between the point guard and the guard who gets the points," wrote Art Spander of the San Francisco Examiner, "but it was a bit of basketball that may produce distant memories."
Interestingly, I ran across this comment from an internet discussion board from someone who has followed Nash since the early years:

I used to go watch Nash play at Toso Pavilion when he was at Santa Clara. He didn't look like he could play- but he obviously could.

Truly learned he was for real when he played in the Cable Car Classic against Georgia Tech. It was at the San Jose Arena and he out-played Stephon Marbury. Right then he proved himself- although nobody saw it because it happened on the West Coast after 7:00 PM.
To cap it off, I even found a picture from the event featuring both:

Nash vs Marbury December 1995, Cable Car Classic, GT vs Santa Clara

Kind of amazing when you think about the path that players take, and how some reach certain levels and others don't. The hype versus the reality and how careers play out on the largest stage. To this day I am dumbfounded as to why Kenny Anderson was basically an NBA journeyman. At the end of the day, maybe it was the fact that he didn't develop a consisten jump shot. Actually, here's a very interesting article about Steve Nash and some of the reasons why he might be peaking in his 30's while most PG's start the downward cycle of their careers. It highlights key aspects that are found in guards with the longest and most successful careers.

Anyhow, amazing watching Steve Nash, and I wanted to share so I HAD to find the GT connection..............................