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Nash was named MVP of the NBA twice, making him one of only 10 players to win the award in back-to-back yearsAndy Wong/The Associated Press

The records

  • Steve Nash was named MVP of the NBA not just once, but twice – in 2005 and 2006 – making him one of only 10 players to win the award in back-to-back years
  • Led the league in assists for five seasons, and is third in the league overall, with 10,335 assists
  • The best free-throw shooter in NBA history, at 90.4 per cent
  • Averaged 14.3 points per game in his 18-season career with the NBA
  • Named an NBA all-star eight times
  • In 2006, he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world
  • Represented Team Canada both at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and in 2004 in Athens

The charity

Mr. Nash has received almost as many honours off the court as on, largely from his philanthropic work.

He has received the Order of Canada, the Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award – the NBA's award for outstanding community work – and an honorary doctor of laws from the University of Victoria.

In 2001, he formed the Steve Nash Foundation, a charity aimed at helping "underserved children" in British Columbia and around the world. "Like its NBA MVP founder, the Foundation is a leader in assists … to a slightly shorter population," the foundation's website says.

Through its "BC Grants" program, the foundation has awarded more than $800,000 to non-profit organizations throughout the province that focus on child health and education services.

The foundation has also contributed significantly toward two hospitals in Paraguay: building a new pediatric cardiac centre in one, and a centre specializing in cervical cancer treatment in another.

And in Arizona – where Mr. Nash spent much of his career playing for the Phoenix Suns – the foundation has also been a key backer of Educare Arizona, which builds preschools for low-income children. To date, the foundation has contributed more than $2-million toward the program.

The brand

Like most professional athletes, Mr. Nash has built a lucrative career in endorsements, earning up to $4-million annually as a spokesman for companies such as Dove Men and Sprint, according to Forbes.

But his entrepreneurial spirit doesn't end with just traditional endorsements. Through his company, Steve Nash Enterprises, Mr. Nash has a stake in about a dozen separate ventures, ranging from a smoothie and juice company, to a skin-care line specializing in products for athletes, to a chain of gyms across the Vancouver area. He even has his own film production company, Meathawk, which has filmed ads for Nike and Vitamin Water.

Some of his skills were honed by serving as a marketing intern – unpaid – at ad-firm Deutsch, according to media reports.

Afterward, he partnered with one of the firm's executives to form a marketing consultancy, called Consigliere Brand Capital.

"The entrepreneurial stuff is exciting to me for the same reason that basketball is exciting," he told Fast Company magazine in 2010. "It's collaborative, creative, educational, experiential. All those elements are in play."

The sports legacy

Outside of basketball, Mr. Nash has also made significant contributions to soccer. And it's no wonder, considering his ties to the sport: Both his father and brother played soccer professionally. His sister, Joann, was captain of the University of Victoria women's soccer team.

In 2008, Mr. Nash became a part-owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and has been known to occasionally drop in to train with the team.

He was also an investor in the Women's Professional Soccer league, which ceased operations in 2012. At the time, he told ESPN that part of the reason he made the investment was his twin daughters.

"I want to be a big fan and hopefully watch them not only entertain but inspire lots of young girls and kids in general," he said.

The politics

Mr. Nash has, on more than one occasion, dipped his toe into politics.

In 2003, he made headlines in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq by wearing a T-shirt that read "No War. Shoot For Peace" to an all-star game. "Being a humanitarian, I think that war is wrong in 99.9 per cent of all cases," he told reporters at the time.

He has also advocated for gay marriage, appearing in a video produced by the Human Rights Campaign just one week after Phoenix Suns president Rick Welts publicly announced that he is gay.

"Hi, I'm Steve Nash," he says in the video. "A growing number of professional athletes are speaking out in support of gay and lesbian couples getting married. I'm proud to be one of them."

And in 2009, Mr. Nash wrote an opinion piece in The Guardian, calling Barack Obama's election as U.S. president his "favourite day in American history."

"I don't want to overstate our experience or understanding of politics," he wrote. "It would be overblown to say that athletes were having their own debates in locker rooms all day long. But we do like to discuss it once in a while, and we are interested. Obama represented so much for so many people."

With reports from The Canadian Press and the Associated Press