CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 13 . . . . February 16, 2007
In a country where many children dream of becoming professional hockey players, Victoria’s Steve Nash was an exception. When he was in grade eight, he told his mother that he would some day play in the National Basketball Association. Having already authored Long Shot: Steve Nash’s Journey to the NBA, Rud, a former sports columnist with the Victoria Times Colonist, was the natural person to continue Nash’s amazing success story.
Readers need not worry if they have not read Rud’s earlier book about Nash as Rud utilizes an essentially chronological approach, one that begins when Nash is in grade 11 and concludes with the close of the 2005-2006 NBA season, the point at which Nash won his second NBA Most Valuable Player Award, doing so in back-to-back years. In many ways, Nash’s story is a double Cinderella tale. The first Cinderella tale involved Nash’s even making it to the NBA, and, as Rud pointed out via the title of his first book, that happening was truly a long shot. The normal route to the NBA is via playing American college basketball for a Division 1 team, but, because Nash had to sit out basketball for his grade 11 year as he had transferred high schools, he was essentially overlooked by American college scouts who principally recruit high school juniors. Additionally, Nash, who was not that tall, was Caucasian and was playing basketball in Canada, did not fit the stereotypic US college basketball prospect. Though Nash was eventually recruited by Santa Clara University, a Division 1 team, the school was not considered a top-ranked basketball powerhouse, and so Nash had to play extremely well to get himself noticed by the NBA scouts. That Cinderella tale concluded on January 26, 1996, when Nash was drafted by the Phoenix Suns.
The last eight of the book’s 15 chapters tell the second Cinderella story. While Nash had achieved his goal of becoming a player in the NBA, he was essentially starting all over again and needing to prove to his coaches and teammates that he was going to be more than just a journeyman player. After two years with the Phoenix Suns, Nash found himself traded to the Dallas Mavericks where he received a six-year 33 million dollar contract, but when that contract expired and Nash was a free agent, he found that the Mavericks did not appear keen to resign him, and so he accepted a six-year 65 million dollar contract from his former team, the Phoenix Suns. It was with the Suns again that the second Cinderella story found its conclusion with Nash’s winning the league’s Most Valuable Player Award, not once, but twice and in consecutive years. Despite all of Nash’s individual recognition, Rud says that one goal still eludes Nash, and that is his being part of an NBA championship team. Possibly Rud will have yet a third book to write.
The book contains a 16 page section of black and white photos that show Steve at various periods in his life, from being a toddler through the 2005-2006 NBA season. The closing two pages consist of a chart of Nash’s NBA career statistics and a listing of the NBA awards and recognitions he has received.
Rud’s writing style will appeal to adolescents who want their nonfiction to read like a novel, and from the events in Nash’s life, Rud constructs a “storyline,” one which incorporates quotes from Nash, his friends, fellow players and coaches. Overall, Rud presents a most positive picture of a modest professional athlete who has selflessly represented his country in the Olympics and who has established a charitable foundation. Steve Nash: The Making of an MVP is a fine addition to the recreational reading section of school and public libraries.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in YA literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.