Congrats to Steve Nash on His Enshrinement Into My Sexual Awakening Hall of Fame
Friday night, Steve Nash entered the Basketball Hall of Fame in Massachusetts. Which is nice, but what took them so long? He’d already made the Lareign Ward Sexual Awakening Hall of Fame.
He was the first athlete to make me horny in confusing ways, but far from the last. Last week, while texting a friend about the NFL, I mentioned that I would definitely bang Nick Foles, even though he probably thinks Plan B is the same thing as abortion.
I’d like to say I began watching the Mavericks in high school because I come from a basketball family. I’d like to say my mom played basketball, and so did I, and we hold a deep reverence for the sport.
My mom did play basketball in Oklahoma in the 70s, when the girls’ squad played a half-court game to avoid bruising their ovaries and rendering them un-marriageable (even though a good chunk of the squad was already married). I’ve seen the photo the local paper took after she was named the county’s Guard of the Year.
And me? At 5–9, I’m an inch taller than my mom. I have done exactly nothing with that height. I take that back; there was one time in the grocery store when I got some water bottles off the top shelf for a pregnant woman.
My dad raised me to be a Cowboys fan , but at 15 or 16, it seemed like time to choose a team rather than inherit one. The Mavericks had the Big Three of Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley, and a floppy-haired Canadian who stirred a feeling in my loins that the Church of Christ told me should be reserved for marriage.
It was bad, and it was obvious. So bad and obvious that family members teased me about it mercilessly. My stepdad referred to Nash as “The Greaser” because of his hair’s perpetually unwashed texture. At a Mavericks game in 2003, my mom nudged me and loudly whispered, “Look, he’s penetrating!”
Six months later, I cried when Nash left the Mavericks to return to the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix offered him more money. In retrospect, Mark Cuban was probably too busy ignoring all that office sexual harassment to notice the Suns poaching Nash, but at the time, it seemed like a baffling oversight.
But I see now that he had to leave. He had to head West so he could get out of Texas and figure out who he really was. I eventually did something similar, but I’m an easier get: I went West for free tuition and graduate stipend that, combined, was worth a tad less than $65 million.
Texas was always a poor fit for Nash, who was a woke bae before either of those words meant anything. He protested the Iraq War in 2003, refusing to back down even after criticism. He was a soft-spoken peacenik who happened to have amazing court vision and uh, body control.
By 2012, the thrill wasn’t gone, but it was different. I was pushing 30, and Steve was pushing 40. I watched on TV as Phoenix fans chanted, “We want Steve” during his last game as a Sun. Later, I was recounting the story to my mom when she interjected: “And you were like, yeah we do, right?”
I guess? I wasn’t not attracted to him, but it didn’t have the same intensity as it did 10 years earlier.
He went to LA after that, in what was supposed to be a final triumphant chapter.
Instead, his back finally died for good, a full decade after Mark Cuban and the rest of the Mavericks front office expected it would. He retired without so much as making the NBA Finals.
He did eventually get that ring as a player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors. The ultimate underdog snagged a title with the league’s all-time biggest Goliath.
He posted a video of himself the day the ring arrived. You can tell he’s grateful, but it’s not how he pictured this happening.
He even says, “It doesn’t seem right, in a way.”
The Hall of Fame speech was more of A Big Moment. He got to put on a suit and make a speech. And near the start of that speech, he said the words every woman longs to hear: “This won’t be 7 seconds or less.”
His enshrinement speech is 21 minutes on YouTube, and I stopped watching after 7. When he was on the court, I couldn’t look away, but now?
The shot clock had expired. The glory days were over. And the penetration never went as deep as I believed.