Monday, May 09, 2005

NBA MVP: Greatest sporting
achievement by a Canadian?

Was Steve Nash's win of the NBA's MVP award the greatest sports achievement by a Canadian, ever? That's the question the National Post's Bruce Arthur looked at in his article today.

What Nash has done is climb to the top of a game that is played by over 450 million people worldwide. He joins Nigeria's Hakeem Olajuwon, who eventually played for the U.S. national team, as the only international players to win the award. (Tim Duncan was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands.)

Nash was the most important player on the best team in the most globally contested league in the world -- soccer, after all, is split into Serie A and the Premiership and La Liga, among others. The closest equivalent would be, perhaps, if Calgary's Owen Hargreaves was named the world's greatest soccer player.

Other writers such as the San Jose Mercury News's Tim Kawakami, however, are calling for a Shaq victory.

Yes, he has won only once, after the 1999-2000 regular season, which was O'Neal's first title season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He's 33 now, so O'Neal might not have many more shots at this -- how is he going to prove more than he did this season? Odds are, O'Neal will end up with one career MVP.

And that's wrong.

I could be wrong, but don't expect many Canadian NBA writers to chime in alongside Kawakami.

Another hockey blogger, Jes Golbez, wonders what could have been had the Vancouver Grizzlies selected Nash back in 1996. What was a head-scratcher of a decision back then looks plain ridiculous now.

UPDATE Have a read of the Ryerson-created Steve Nash cartoons.

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