By: Steve Nash

Source: Forward Thinking by Tangerine Bank


I recently announced that after 18-plus years of playing, I am retiring from basketball. In a way, the decision was made for me over the last 18 months or so. Not being able to play the game I love at the highest possible level told me it was time to bring my focus off the court. I’m happy to say that I’m excited about what comes next.

Basketball has always been, and will always be, a major part of my life. In many ways I feel like I grew as a man, father and friend through playing professional sports. I experienced the importance of belonging, built confidence, became a better leader and through it all was tremendously lucky to be surrounded by great people both on and off the court. I have been both humbled and truly inspired by this sport. It has given me a platform to influence my surroundings in a positive and lasting way.

Like any professional athlete, I had my share of ups and downs, but I never gave up. I’m not a prototypical anything. But what I did have was a desire and a belief. The desire to be better each day than the day before and the belief that I could be. This became very powerful for me. The more I wanted it and committed to achieving my goals, the more I believed I could achieve them. I was constantly challenging myself. I wanted to do more. To be more. This took me to places I never knew I would end up.

Career aside, I’m also a father. This means the world to me. My kids are my greatest joy and seeing them grow fuels me to stay on my pursuit to be a better me and also help to ensure the strength and vibrancy of the communities that they belong to.

I recently partnered with Tangerine as the official ambassador of #BrightWayForward, a program that is all about building up confident, optimistic individuals who will help form the backbone of strong communities. Together, we’re partnering with agencies across Canada that encourage self-esteem, leadership, belonging and acceptance.

I take my partnerships very seriously. It needs to feel like we have shared values. It needs to be authentic. Meeting with Tangerine and learning about their desire to partner not only with me directly but with Canada Basketball, the Steve Nash Youth Basketball program, and a number of community agencies that serve to empower Canadians resonated with me. I was seeking new challenges that would build on my experience and satisfy my desire to have a greater impact with Canadians. They wanted to work with me to grow a program that mattered, too, but also to help support me in engaging more broadly with Canadians to share what I’ve learned in life through my experiences.

With my new focus, I’ve had the chance to reflect on some of my biggest lessons on the court and how these will help shape the type of impact I want to have moving forward.

1) Leadership can be learned

It would be nice if life gave you everything you needed, but that’s not how life works. Over the course of my career, I had instances where I thought to myself, “Someone should say something” or “Someone should do something,” but one of the most powerful moments in my life was when I realized that “someone” could be me. Instead of asking, “Why isn’t anyone doing something about this?” today I’m empowered to create the positive change myself.

2) ‘It’ takes commitment, passion and self-belief

What is “it”? Frankly, “it” is whatever you want it to be. It may be a focus on your health; it may be the desire to graduate or to get a new job. It may be to take action in your community. We all have goals, and we all can achieve them if we stay committed and passionate about what we do. It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen without hard work—it isn’t free.

3) A better me is possible each and every day

If you believe in yourself and commit to taking the necessary steps to achieve your goals, you can get closer each day. Progress doesn’t always come in leaps and bounds, it comes in small steps. As a player, I learned a lot about how the little things can make all the difference. As a fan, you see the beautiful bounce pass through traffic, but you don’t see all the work, repetition and practice that went into making that pass.

4) Very few things can be done alone

Basketball is a team sport. You need to care about your teammates. You need to know them as people and treat them with respect. I’m a unique guy and so is each and every person I have ever played with. We may have liked different things off the court and come from different backgrounds, but we had shared goals on the court. The more we trusted in each other and invested in each other, the more success we had. Accept others for who they are, and always make them feel like they belong—that’s what leadership is all about.

5) Never, ever give up

I always knew that I wanted to be a professional basketball player—the NBA or bust! But, I was certainly never considered to be a sure thing. Very few people are. Even the greats who seem to have everything going for them often don’t. They practice. They work at it. No matter what your pursuit, you also need to work at it. You need to commit. You need to believe. And as long as you still have a goal to achieve, you can never give up on it. It may take you longer than you thought, it may be harder, and others may not always understand, but it is possible.

About Steve Nash

Steve Nash is a Canadian basketball legend, two-time NBA MVP, and Tangerine Program Ambassador for Bright Way Forward. You can learn more about Steve at his website: For more on Steve Nash, visit

Filed under: #BrightWayForward, Leadership, Motivation, Steve Nash Tagged: #BrightWayForward, leadership, Steve Nash

Source: Steve Nash Youth Basketball Blog
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