Steve Nash knew he was going to the public’s focal point this season when it came to coverage of the Phoenix Suns during the 2011-12 season.

So game-in and game-out, the 16-year NBA veteran stood before the media to give his straight-forward, polite and informative take on the game as the leader of his team.

The Professional Basketball Writers Association acknowledged Nash’s effort in this regard on Monday by naming him its Magic Johnson Award winner. The honor is given to the player who best combines excellence on the court with public cooperation off of it.

“It’s a privilege and honor to be recognized by the pro basketball writers, whose passion and skillfulness present the frontline of how our game is understood and perceived by our fans,” Nash told the Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro. “Their role in our sport can’t be underestimated and it’s an honor to be recognized by them along with the past recipients.”

Nash beat out three other finalists for the award, including Minnesota’s Kevin Love, San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul. It is the first time Nash earned this particular accolade.

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