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Updated:Did racial bias sink Shaq's chance at MVP?


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Did racial bias sink Shaq's chance at MVP?

https://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?show...ost&p=585901830

Original story follows...

May 9, 2005. 08:14 AM

Nash's MVP title a bit much

Fickle voters snub Shaq again

DAVE FESCHUK

SPORTS COLUMNIST

There's a saying in sports: if you're good enough, they'll find you. But Steve Nash found them, soliciting U.S. colleges for scholarship offers until he finally got exactly one.

And even when he defied all laws of probability, starred at Santa Clara and made the NBA, there was a time when the skinny kid from Canada was being assailed as an overpaid underachiever. It was then that Nash astounded them, transforming himself from an oft-injured struggler into the most beloved of the Dallas Mavericks, finally leaving Texas last summer, not on the bus to the South American bush leagues that some would have had him riding only a few years earlier, but in a bidding war.

And even this past summer, even after he'd commanded a six-year $65 million (U.S.) contract with the Phoenix Suns, people doubted him. Even yesterday, when he clutched the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as official proof of his status as the NBA's most valuable player, Nash was confounding them.

Somehow, some way, it can't be true: the MVP can't be the white guy in a game dominated by black guys, the 6-foot-3 shrimp in a 7-footer's world. He can't be the passer in a league that glorifies scorers, the selfless leader in a profession brimming with me-first fools. And surely the MVP cannot be, as one northland basketball junkie opined in a giddy email, the Canadian born in South Africa who's the father of twins with his Paraguayan girlfriend.

What were the odds? A gazillion to one? And when again will we see an athlete ? not to mention a lock for Canada's athlete of the year ? so well-rounded and so rare? Nash is a hand-eye genius who excelled at every sport he tried as a youngster, from soccer to rugby to baseball. Nash is the glue that repaired the Suns and turned them from losers of 53 games to winners of 62. Hail him. Saint him. Make him Governor freakin' General.

But understand, also, that Nash should not be MVP.

Wilt Chamberlain once said, "Nobody loves Goliath." And it says here that not enough MVP voters loved Shaquille O'Neal, the most dominant player of his generation, not to mention the sole reason the Heat went from middle-of-the-road pretenders to championship contenders.

Nash's arrival in Phoenix, of course, has been credited for an even more impressive turnaround. But Jason Terry replaced Nash at point guard in Dallas and the Mavericks ? the Suns' second-round playoff opponent in a series that opens tonight ? won 58 games, albeit with considerable improvements at other positions. Without O'Neal and with the not-inconsiderable talent influx of Lamar Odom the Lakers fell into an abyss that included a trip to the draft lottery, a finish behind the Clippers, and 34 wins ? one more than the Raptors. Such are the floor-opening demands on O'Neal's opponents that suddenly a cast of the Heat's ho-hum journeymen ? from Damon Jones to Eddie Jones ? look spectacular.

Nash makes his teammates better, too, but Amare Stoudemire is an MVP-to-be who, at age 22, is on an improvement curve pointed straight up. Shawn Marion and Quentin Richardson bring the total of Nash's all-star-calibre teammates to three, two more than O'Neal, who has the accomplished Dwyane Wade.

That O'Neal and Nash have now won exactly the same number of MVPs speaks to the voters' hard-to-fathom fickleness.

Whatever, you've got to split hairs to make the case against the man they call Hair Canada. To be the most valuable player in the world's best league in the globe's second most popular sport after soccer ? if Nash's feat is proclaimed the greatest individual achievement by a Canadian athlete, who's going to make the case against it? He has succeeded in spite of this country's aversion to excellence. He has found wild success, astounded awestruck fans, confounded conventional wisdom

Even he, maybe, still cannot believe it. Whatever his future brings, he'll forever be a name on an MVP list that includes all the great ones, from Bill Russell to Wilt Chamberlain, from Magic Johnson to Michael Jordan. When asked his first reaction to that fact, he shrugged.

"Who does not belong?" he said. "It's incredible. I'm there with my heroes."

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...id=968867503640

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the Canadian born in South Africa who's the father of twins with his Paraguayan girlfriend.

i didn't know any of that, cool.

Nash makes his teammates better, too, but Amare Stoudemire is an MVP-to-be who, at age 22, is on an improvement curve pointed straight up. Shawn Marion and Quentin Richardson bring the total of Nash's all-star-calibre teammates to three, two more than O'Neal, who has the accomplished Dwyane Wade.

.......alonzo mourning?

That O'Neal and Nash have now won exactly the same number of MVPs speaks to the voters' hard-to-fathom fickleness.

Why, because tim duncan has been so damn dominant for the last few years?

shaq probably did deserve it more, but that doesn't mean nash deserves it less.

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I agree with Nash deserving it. Shaq does deserve it aswell, but look at him play on the heat and he's a bit of a ball-hog. Nash is a very smart player and a very good one aswell. He can energise the crowd and the team a lot easier than shaq can. The heat did not go from a mediocre team. They had an amazing lineup that worked well together, howver they have always been plagued by health problems. Personally I'd still rather watch alonzo, tim and pj do their thing over pretty much anybody in the nba.

What annoys me is how Glen Rice never got an mvp award (aside from mvp for an all-star game). ANother thing that annoys me concerning him is phil jackson. Phil never really gave him much of a chance. The odd time that rick fox and glen rice were both on the court at the same time, it was pure domination. For some reason phil jackson never cought on to how good they were when they were on the court together and sidelined rice in order to play fox (who at the time had a smaller 3 point percentage for the season). After that rice only got 12 minutes of time per game, and struggled because of it.

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Another opinion from the same paper...

May 9, 2005. 06:39 AM

Little Canuck big man in NBA

Steve Nash is named most valuable

Captain Canada beats Shaquille O'Neal

DOUG SMITH

SPORTS REPORTER

PHOENIX?In a sport far too often about me, Steve Nash has struck a blow for we.

He stands as the anti-hero in a game that glorifies dunks and astounding feats of individual athleticism; he relishes team success far more than personal accolades, always willing to share the glory and the joy with his teammates.

He is a self-effacing Canadian Everyman in the most American of games, a kid who grew up in hockey country playing The City Game, fighting long odds and huge obstacles at every step.

But today Steve Nash has to stand alone even if he doesn't enjoy it, today the Phoenix Suns point guard has to take ownership of a set of skills that sets him apart from every bigger, faster, more athletic basketball player on the planet.

Today Steve Nash, the Victoria-raised gym rat now as famous in New York and Chicago and Barcelona and Athens as he is across Canada, is considered the best basketball player in the game.

The 31-year-old Nash was named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA yesterday, edging gigantic Miami Heat centre Shaquille O'Neal in a voting process among North American media members that rewarded substance over style and teamwork over individuality.

"It's incredible," he said at a news conference here yesterday. "I'm there with my heroes (former MVPs). It's been a long road for me and I feel really proud to accomplish this playing as a team, just trying to be a good teammate.

"That is the only way for me to highlight what I do as a basketball player."

It is the first time a Canadian has won any individual NBA honour, let alone the top prize generally reserved for bigger, stronger, quicker players in the Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson mould.

Nash, who joined the Suns this year as a free agent and helped them go from a 29-win, non-playoff team to one that had an NBA-best 62-20 record this season, received 65 of 127 first-place votes, seven more than the 7-foot-1 O'Neal. Of the 50 winners of the Most Valuable Player award, only six have been guards: Nash, Magic Johnson, Robertson, Jordan, Allen Iverson and Bob Cousy.

Standing just over 6 feet tall in a game dominated by players 6 inches to a foot taller than he and playing a pace some would consider pedestrian compared to some of the waterbugs to skitter across NBA courts, Nash has thrived on making his teammates ? and his team ? better.

It was fitting, and entirely in character, that he began yesterday's news conference by insisting that his teammates, who turned out in full force to watch the proceedings, join him on the stage.

"I'm happy for him," said Phoenix forward Shawn Marion. "Him getting the MVP makes us feel like we all got the MVP.

"It couldn't happen to a better person or a better player."

Nash has ascended to this lofty height against all expectations. He was the 15th player chosen in the 1996 NBA draft and he was pegged as a career backup point guard at that time.

He was about the only one who truly believed he could reach this level.

"I always try to set goals for myself and have my own time frame to accomplish them and to not give up on anything, to keep trying to improve and keep trying to find new ways to inspire myself to improve," he said.

It is not as if Nash arrived at this point without countless hours of hard work. As a freshman at Santa Clara University ? the only American school that would offer a scholarship to the unknown Canadian ?he worked on his ball-handling skills by dribbling a tennis ball around the campus.

As a high schooler at St. Michael's in Victoria, it was as if he owned the gym, shooting jump shot after jump shot after jump shot long after everyone had gone home. His singular goal was to become as great a player as he could be, regardless of the odds stacked against him.

"My neighbourhood didn't have any NBA players, I was offered one (college) scholarship. Obviously hockey is the first, second and third story in our country, so to be here is to be very unlikely but at the same time it makes it a great accomplishment to cherish," he said.

Nash's MVP victory should serve as a testament that following one's dreams is never bad, regardless of what difficulties are encountered.

"Look at the list of names, and now you put Steve Nash on there," said Jay Triano, Nash's former coach with the Canadian national team, looking down a roster of previous winners that includes Jordan, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Robertson, among others.

"It shows you don't have to be 6-foot-9, you can be a guard, you can be from Victoria. Steve's broken the barriers for what some kids use as excuses to not succeed."

There is much more to Nash, however, than his ability to make jump shots or thread passes through traffic on the court. He relishes the time he spends with his partner, Alejandra Amarilla, and twin daughters Bella and Lola, who were born just before this season began.

His interests go far beyond sports and the NBA. His social conscience is such that he wore a T-shirt bearing an anti-war slogan at the NBA all-star weekend festivities in Philadelphia in 2002. He's well read, well versed in global issues.

Those stands may have cost him the chance to earn significant endorsement opportunities, although he is in the first year of a contract that will pay him $60 million (all figures U.S.), so money is not an issue.

And while an MVP award will undoubtedly enhance Nash's marketability, especially in Canada, where he is idolized by a generation of young basketball players who have seen him rise from Canadian high schools to global stardom, don't expect him to leap at every commercial opportunity.

"I'm not opposed (to them), obviously I turn most of them down, but if the right ones come along ... " he said. "It's usually time. I just don't want to give up much time in the summer with my family, or during the season."

But even as he accepted the ultimate individual honour the NBA can bestow, Nash ? typically ? wouldn't suggest it was the ultimate moment of his career.

"A lot of the great moments are games you win with your teammates, there's nothing like sharing something with someone else," he said. "This is a pinnacle of a player's career individually. In many ways, the pinnacle of a player's career really is defined by team wins."

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...id=968332188492

050219_nash_steve_200.jpg

Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash is leading his club to a serious run at the NBA championship this season.
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Nash being the MVP is insane...He's a GREAT player but there is no way he is the most valuable player in the NBA. Shaq is by far the most dominant player in the game and was beaten by Nash, thats retarded.

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Personally, I'm not sure which way to go on this one. BUT, look at what Phoenix did when Nash missed some games due to injuries earlier in the season. They're scoring and wins dropped significantly. The Heat made it through the first round with Shaq not really contributing much. I also think part of it with Shaq is the Jordan factor. Jordan could've easily won the MVP EVERY year he played but Barkley and Malone both snuck in there during his career. With Shaq, everyone knows he's insanely dominant but he's expected to put up 25-15 numbers every night now. I think that definitely played into it.

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no doubt that nash has been reborn, and shaq has too. but i do think that nash has made his team better. to me, if i were voting... that is more valuable than the same old shaq.

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Iverson anyone?

31.2 PPG, 7.9 APG, 2.4 SPG isn't enough? How about bringing that abysmal Philadelphia team (LOOK AT THE ROSTER!) to the playoffs?

Come on. 2 MVP votes for an incredible season. Sad.

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could say the same about lebron or duncan but these two surely were standouts this season.

585897001[/snapback]

LeBron and Iverson had no supporting cast, though (DO NOT CALL WEBBER SUPPORTING CAST). They should be considered the "MOST VALUABLE", as Shaq and Nash came to teams already on the verge (Phoenix wasn't really, but they picked up Richardson as well, and everyone knew Amare would blow up, and the Heat were really one piece away...)

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way way off topic, but, bigbluepride, i wanted to know if you update the records and teams in your sig yourself, or what? i've seen a couple guys on here with that, and i wanted to know about it and how i can do that to (although, if you update that yourself, then its probably pretty straightforward, but somehow i think that its an automatic thing)

thanks

oh and, like i said before, nash did deserve it as much as shaq did, and the point about AI is very vaild, he should have probably got more votes than he did.

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I wouldn't have voted for Alan Iverson. He seems, to me, to be the quintessential selfish player. I realize he had no supporting cast but I think you could put him on a team with a better supporting cast and he'd still try for 50 points a night regardless if they win or lose.

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LeBron and Iverson had no supporting cast, though (DO NOT CALL WEBBER SUPPORTING CAST).  They should be considered the "MOST VALUABLE", as Shaq and Nash came to teams already on the verge (Phoenix wasn't really, but they picked up Richardson as well, and everyone knew Amare would blow up, and the Heat were really one piece away...)

585897013[/snapback]

Agreed with this also...

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Iverson didn't get it simply because the 76'ers didn't win as much games, didn't win a conference or anything. They barely snuck in the playoffs, and didn't do much when they got in. He didn't make his teammates better, even though he put stellar numbers up. The MVP award goes to the player that contributes to his team and makes them better the most.

Shaq can purely dominant. He'll win MVP's in his career no doubt. But Nash no doubt change this team around. Imagine this year, Phoenix without Nash. I highly doubt they'll win 50 games. Bottom line, I believe Nash was more important in Phoenix's turnaround, then Shaq with Miami. Miami can play without Shaq and they would've eben decent.

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true

in the playoffs shaq's not really that big and the heat are still winning like crazy

when nash gets benched, the suns fall considerably without his leadership

where would Amare's pts come from without nash?

Nash really deserves the award

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Iverson didn't get it simply because the 76'ers didn't win as much games, didn't win a conference or anything.  They barely snuck in the playoffs, and didn't do much when they got in.  He didn't make his teammates better, even though he put stellar numbers up.  The MVP award goes to the player that contributes to his team and makes them better the most.

585897429[/snapback]

You forget how he averaged 8 assists per game? 10 in the playoffs? Michael Jordan only averaged 8 once in his career, and never above 6.1 after that. Jordan led a subpar Bulls team into the playoffs the year before (and averaged only *gasp* 6 assits per game) and got an early exit. Guess who the MVP was? That's with: Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, Magic Johnson, Larry Nance, Dominique Wilkins also playing extremely well. Oh, let's not forget to mention that that team had Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Charles Oakley in support of Jordan.

Zing!

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O'Neal is the most dominant player in the game and a lot of people like to confuse that with being the most valuable to a team. You know Shaq doesn't care though, he'll get a ring, that's all he's concerned with.

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Just because you are dominant doesn't mean you're an MVP. Wade has done more for the Heat than Shaq. Overall, Nash does deserve to be MVP because of his selfless play which makes his teammates better. Sure, Amare was good last year, but he exploded this year because Nash arrived in the scene. Nash was never noticed in Dallas because they had no defense, but now, he is being noticed for what he can do.

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way way off topic, but, bigbluepride, i wanted to know if you update the records and teams in your sig yourself, or what? i've seen a couple guys on here with that, and i wanted to know about it and how i can do that to (although, if you update that yourself, then its probably pretty straightforward, but somehow i think that its an automatic thing)

thanks

585897388[/snapback]

I jsut change the record and results myself by hand. My bud bangbang023 did all the coding for the images and links and stuff for me but for the records and results its just me changing it after every game.

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How anyone can say Nash didn't deserve it is beyond me. Sure, Shaq is as deserving as he is, but how on God's green Earth can you argue againt Nash?

Before Nash came to Phoenix, they were lottery. They were cell-dwellers. They were one of the most mediocre teams you could come by, and it was considered a break to play them. Now, Nash has everyone in Phoenix believing in what they can do, running and gunning, and just getting it done.

Are we forgetting about the all-star game? Nash easily won the ball handling contest... he heled his teammate in the dunking contest and the shooting contest was won, too. Tell me -- would that have happened last year without Nash? Heck no, it would not have. They wouldn't have had a single guy there if it weren't for Steve Nash.

Steve Nash led the league in assists... his points weren't anything to be embarrassed about, either, but they were not absolutely amazing. But, if you look at Steve Nash in the game, you're looking at a completely different pace. His stats don't show everything, but you watch the game and you tell me Nash doesn't get it done... and I'll call you one of the worst liers in the history of the universe. Nash only had 9 points in the first half of the game yesterday (if I remember correctly), but he led his team to a brutal beating of Dallas by hitting open players, getting assists, fighting on defense, stretching out the Maverick's offense, and everything you can imagine.

Shaq does ALMOST NONE of these things. He doesn't stretch the offense... he just makes it more bunched up. He's good on defense, but he's not as mobile as he used to be. He rarely hits any open players besides Wade. He doesn't get many assists. He gets rebounds, but with a frame like that he damn well better.

The Heat were in the Eastern Conference finals last year! The Suns weren't even thinking about the playoffs.

Shaq deserves it, but Nash deserved it more.

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I don't know, a 36-game turnaround certainly must be deserving of something. Look at it from this point: since Shaq is/was one of the most dominant players in the game, you pretty much expected Miami to be at the top of the mountain, especially considering one year under Dwayne Wade's belt and the weak competition in the East. Now, with Steve Nash, who is probably 6'2'' or so, could anyone predict his impact?

That said, I'm one of those who thinks that as long as Tim Duncan is playing, he should get MVP every year. If you watch enough basketball (especially high school and college) you would know what a difference he makes. The Spurs were absolutely crap the last few games of the season when Duncan was out; they had the best record when he got injured.

I used to not like Allen Iverson but in 2001 when he won the MVP and played his balls off in the Finals, I fell for him. And seeing his desire in the Olympics (take note, Carmelo) and how he has rounded himself into a complete player this season is really amazing to watch. It's just a shame that Chris Webber is such a pansy and that guys like Kyle Korver and Andre Igoudala are still really young; Philly showed a few quarters in the Pistons series that they are going to be really good in the next few years.

Let's face it, the NBA won't have many chances anymore to have a white player as MVP. And this still reinforces the argument, and I stand by it 100%, that the MVP should be awarded after the season.

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i thought dwayne wade would have had a better chance at winning it than shaq this year. nash was a good choice he's awesome to watch, like the way he dribbles and them quick and creative passes and how he can get him self out of trouble when he is surrounded by opposition. great player (Y)

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