The whiskers are falling, but the Suns are still rising!
Rendering of Nash’s ‘stache.
While many of the Suns have ditched their “facial hair pact” due to rashes and itchiness (and overall grooming dissatisfaction — Sean Marks DID look like Tom Hanks in Castaway!), the team is bonding better than ever and flat-out taking care of business on the court.
As I sit here tonight in Milwaukee — awaiting a possible team-record 16th straight win — it occurs to me that we may never experience a team or a run like this again! Two 15-game win streaks before February 1st is a lot like Joe D’s hit streak, the Dolphins impeccable, unbeaten season or UCLA’s dominant run in college hoops.
We’ll probably never see anything like it again in our lifetime, especially when you consider how much parity there is in sports (and the NBA) due to salary caps and player movement with free agency.
We will be weaving stories about the exploits of Steve Nash for years to come. A little (by NBA standards) Canadian who can dominate a game dominated by taller, stronger, faster freaks of nature. His fire and desire is unmatched along with the leadership skills he brings to the locker room.
Before one of the more anticipated games of the season — in Washington versus a Wizards team that undermined the last Suns 15-game win streak and called themselves the “Suns of the East” — Steve took the edge off by taking his scraggly beard off… though leaving a razor-thin mustache that must have made Boris Diaw feel right at home!
“Pepe” Nash looked like a lil’ Frenchman from a bad movie when he got onto the team bus. But the result was more fascinating.
Raja Bell did a double, then triple-take and burst out in hysterics, later telling Steve, “I needed a good laugh.” Shawn Marion hopped on the team bus, walked right past Nash and sat down. We all just waited for Shawn to get a good look at Steve, and when he finally did, “Trix” too erupted and asked Steve if he was really going to take the floor looking like that!
Steve then made his way into the visitors’ locker room in D.C. to the hooting and hollering of his teammates, coaches and training staff (Aaron Nelson, Mike Elliott, Eric Phillips and Jay Gaspar were also leaders of the Beard Brigade). Nobody could believe what they saw.
But what they were really seeing was their team leader, their two-time league MVP (and working on a third) and darling of the basketball nation not taking himself too seriously. Steve eventually shaved the mini-moustache off before taking the court, but his sense of humor and sense of timing had an astounding impact.
If you caught the first quarter, you saw a loose team that unleashed its offensive fury on a dazed Wizards squad. Before Gilbert Arenas could say “hibachi” for the second time, his “Suns of the East” were down by 27 to the one and only Suns team.
Now, could the Suns have come out that way if Nash had not pulled-off his “Pierre” impersonation? Maybe. Possibly.
But the end result speaks for itself. Steve’s “stache” ploy helped relax and propel a team that seems to be on a journey for the ages led by their captain who has captivated us all!