Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash responds to Phil Jackson's comments about him carrying the ball
May 15, 2010 | 1:06 pm
Lakers' Coach Phil Jackson zinged Phoenix guard Steve Nash on Friday, making claims that Nash carries the ball when he plays.
It's a game Jackson is known for this time of year, spreading propaganda through the media in an effort to sway officiating his way, if he can. He did it before the Lakers faced the Oklahoma City Thunder with star forward Kevin Durant, and was later fined $35,000 for it.
Well, on Saturday, Nash retaliated, sort of.
"I've been in the league for 14 years," he said after practice in Phoenix. "I don't know if I've been called for carrying yet. It's news to me. I've never heard anyone complain about me carrying the ball."
Nash seemed to be getting a kick out of Jackson's comments, knowing he was being drawn into Jackson's game.
"I don't think I've fully made it until I've been drawn into a war of words with Phil," Nash joked. "Everybody knows what he's up to. I think it's fun. I think the fans and the media get a kick out of it."
But then Nash threw a slight zinger back at Jackson when he referred to San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich as the NBA's top coach, a title some feel rightly belongs to Jackson.
"The best coach in the league, Gregg Popovich, didn't have a problem with it last week," Nash said, alluding to the Suns' sweep of the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals.
Did Nash make the underhanded remark intentionally?
"I didn't say anything," he said, smiling. "I didn't say anything."
Nash would later say he won't change how he handles the ball in the upcoming Western Conference finals match-up with the Lakers, which begins Monday.
For his part, Suns Coach Alvin Gentry kept neutral.
"We're not going to get drawn into that. How could we win?" he said. "Nah, it's fun. I have all the respect in the world for (Jackson)."
- Baxter Holmes, Reporting from Phoenix