NBA

Stephen A. Smith Rips the Steve Nash Hiring: ‘This Is White Privilege’

In a shocking move, Steve Nash just got hired to be the Brooklyn Nets‘ new head coach. The move has caught the NBA world by surprise, as Nash has no coaching experience. However, he was one of the best point guards to ever play in the NBA, and he was previously a consultant for the Golden State Warriors. After the news came out, though, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith gave his reactions to the hiring on his show, First Take, and he ultimately ripped it.

Steve Nash was a legendary NBA player

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The Phoenix Suns drafted Nash with the 15th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft. He spent his first two seasons with the Suns and just averaged 6.4 points per game and 2.8 assists in those seasons. 

However, the Suns traded him to the Dallas Mavericks in 1998, and Nash became a star in Dallas. Nash ultimately earned All-Star selections in 2001-02 and 2002-03 as he averaged over 17 points per game and seven assists in both seasons. The Mavericks were also an excellent team in 2002-03 as they went 60-22 and went to the Western Conference Finals.

In 2004, though, Nash signed back with the Suns and became one of the best point guards of all-time. He earned six All-Star selections in eight years from 2004-05 through 2011-12, and he had some spectacular seasons as he led the NBA in assists per game in five different seasons. Nash ultimately earned back-to-back MVP awards too in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and averaged 18.8 points per game and 10.5 assists in 2005-06. 

The Suns were always an excellent team with Nash too, as he helped lead them to three trips to the Western Conference Finals.

In his final two seasons in the NBA, Nash played for the LA Lakers. He, however, only played in 65 games combined in those seasons. 

Nash finished his career as an eight-time All-Star, and he had 10,335 career assists, which is third all-time.

The Brooklyn Nets hired him to be their next head coach

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On Sept. 3, the Brooklyn Nets announced that they hired Nash to become their next head coach. Nash has signed a four-year contract, according to ESPN.

“After meeting with a number of highly accomplished coaching candidates from diverse backgrounds, we knew we had a difficult decision to make,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a news release, per ESPN. “In Steve we see a leader, communicator and mentor who will garner the respect of our players.”

Nash takes over a Nets team that only went 35-37 in 2019-20, but they are expected to have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the court next season.

Stephen A. Smith rips the Steve Nash hiring

The Brooklyn Nets' hiring of Steve Nash shocked the basketball world. Recently, Stephen A. Smith ripped it, calling it White privilege.
(L-R) Stephen A. Smith, Steve Nash | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images; Harry How/Getty Images

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After the news came out, Stephen A. Smith went on First Take and gave his opinions about the hiring. 

He first complimented Nash greatly.

“Steve Nash has no coaching experience, but if you talk about an outlier, an individual that is just special on so many levels, it is Steve Nash,” Smith said. “Not just as a player, but his mentorship to some degree with Steph Curry; the brothers that he has looked out for and supported. … Steve Nash is a sensational dude, and if anybody deserves this opportunity absent the experience that obviously he has a coach, it is him.”

However, after making it known how much he loves and respects Nash, Smith ripped the hiring by calling it “White privilege.”

“This is White privilege. This does not happen for a Black man. No experience whatsoever on any level as a coach, and you get the Brooklyn Nets job,” Smith said. “I know that Kyrie and KD have both signed off on this. I know they both support this move, but I’m thinking about a champion that is [Tyronn] Lue — passed up. I’m thinking about a guy who built the foundation for the Golden State Warriors in Mark Jackson — passed up. I’m thinking about the years that Sam Cassell has served as an assistant … passed up”

Smith also went on to say this: “In these times, where we’re making all of this noise about social justice. I got news for y’all … The frustration, the protests, and all of these things that you’ve seen in the streets throughout America, emanating from the Black community and disenfranchised communities, is that preverbal glass ceiling … How the hell does this always happen for somebody else other than us? Why is it that we have to be twice as good to get half as much?”

When you have other coaches out there without jobs, the hiring of Steve Nash is certainly controversial, and Smith and others have a right to be upset. We’ll, however, see how it ends up working out for Nash and the Brooklyn Nets when they take the court again next season.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference