There are many in town who can recall the glory days of 1980s and 90s basketball in Victoria.
Even if you were there, you won’t have seen it in the same light as co-authors Dave Feschuk and Michael Grange, who revisit Steve Nash’s Victoria upbringing in a new book, Steve Nash: The Unlikely Ascent of a Superstar.
The bio piece brings Nash’s start in Victoria back to life with new relevance, with a revisionist approach based on modern sports science.
Feschuk and Grange focus on the major elements which shaped Nash into a future NBA star, beginning with former national team player Eli Pasquale’s decision to leave Sudbury, Ont. for the UVic Vikes. A series of links are made from the impact of the 1980s Vikes and how they ultimately affected Nash’s decision to make a goal of playing in the NBA.
The authors unearth telling data through interviews with legendary Vikes coach Ken Shields and 1980s Vikes players Ian Hyde-Lay, who later coached Nash at St. Michaels University School, and Pasquale, who should have played in the NBA.
From the book:
“While Pasquale was playing on the national team, it was the UVic campus where teenaged Nash went to basketball games and snuck in after hours to work on his game. It was also where Shields, the Canadian national team coach, gave that high school kid a chance to practice with the best players in the country, Pasquale among them.”
It also keys on the influence of then-Vikes rower Silken Laumann, and how Shields re-appropriated the Vikes rowing team’s high performance strategies to his basketball team and how that, in turn, affected Nash. And it doesn’t end there, tracking the many instances a “butterfly has flapped its wings” in Nash’s direction.