SBD/May 9, 2012/Olympics

Canada Basketball Hopes Addition Of Steve Nash As GM Leads To Success On, Off Court

Nash (c) will continue his NBA career while working part-time with Canada Basketball
Canada Basketball named Suns G Steve Nash GM of its men's national team, as the organization hopes to capitalize on Nash's "corporate" image as it embarks on a "major fund-raising campaign," according to Robert MacLeod of the GLOBE & MAIL. Despite a "growing number of players at both the NCAA and NBA level over the years, Canada’s men’s national team has continued to struggle at the international level." Nash's job will be to "help harness the wealth of emerging Canadian talent and select the team that will try to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro." He will be "working at the role part time as he is planning to continue his NBA career." Canada Basketball President & CEO Wayne Parrish said that Nash's involvement "has already opened some doors as the organization has identified as many as 30 individuals who have agreed to raise around $2-million in funding" (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/9). In Toronto, Ryan Wolstat notes Nash played 10 years for the national team, "ending with a tournament MVP performance at Olympic qualifying" in '04. Parrish said that he had "been in talks with Nash since September." Canada Basketball has been "profitable the past four years but had been working off" a C$1.2M deficit (TORONTO SUN, 5/9).

A SLAM DUNK: Also in Toronto, Steve Buffery writes under the header, "Nash Hiring A Slam Dunk For Canada Basketball." Short of "winning a medal at an Olympic Games, the announcement that Steve Nash -- the greatest basketball player this country has ever produced -- has been named the new GM of the senior men’s national team is the absolute best of news for the program." Nash's appointment is "much bigger" than Hockey HOFers Wayne Gretzky and Steve Yzerman leading Canada's Olympic hockey team, as the hockey team is "always going to be gold-medal worthy." Nash's presence makes it "that much easier to raise money as the team looks towards the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain" and the '16 Rio Olympics. Though Parrish said Monday that Nash's "primary duties will be as GM, i.e. personnel -- he acknowledged that, from a marketing point of view, having the Phoenix Suns star on board is a major bonus" (TORONTO SUN, 5/9). The TORONTO STAR's Doug Smith writes Nash "still has basketball to play and play at the highest level but the chance to have an impact on a country ... was simply too good to turn down." Smith writes the appointment "may turn out to be a watershed moment in the basketball history of this country" (TORONTO STAR, 5/9).
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