Dime: I’m actually from Phoenix, so I think I read all of your Suns stuff back then when I was really young. Can you talk about that 2004-05 team?
PS: The good one?
Dime: Yeah, the good one. Was there a different dynamic in the locker room and all that compared to other teams that you’ve been on that haven’t been successful? That was, obviously, a successful team and with the way they played …
PS: Right. I attribute that to Steve Nash having the alpha personality and also having the alpha work ethic. I was in San Antonio once and talking to somebody in the San Antonio management – I can’t remember who because everyone moves around so much – this person was talking about how they’ve always been lucky because Tim Duncan was their best player and hardest worker. That’s maybe not true now because he’s aging a little bit. But that applies to the Suns. The team’s best player was also the best worker, the nicest guy, the best role model, and I think that helped to keep the team together.
Like, Amar’e Stoudemire, great basketball player, not a terrible human being, but not a particularly hard worker. So if he sees Steve Nash take a day off, he will think to himself, “I can do what I want” because our quote-on-quote leader is slacking off. When that leader is so committed every day to doing everything right – that doesn’t mean he doesn’t makes mistakes, but showing up on time, working hard, listening to the coach, all those things – everything else falls in line because they respect that ability of the best.
Dime: Yeah, and I know you’ve written a lot about how you saw KG and Kobe up close. How different is Nash because he’s obviously not the, you know, the intimidating type of guys they are? Is he completely different in that regard?
PS: There’s all kinds of leaders, of course. He’s more of the by-example sort. He’s not afraid to say what he thought, talk about what needs to be changed. I think that’s probably the flaw with Kobe Bryant and what people see with his personality on the court. They can just tell people will follow him only so far because he doesn’t treat them very well. Like, Nash is not only going to tell you, “Hey, I need you to do this,” he’ll come back and say “Thank you for doing that, I appreciate it.” Bryant is apt to roll his eyes when a teammate misses a shot. Garnett, from my limited experience, is more like Nash. He just seems to get it as good leaders of men do. He knows when to push and pull, and give a little bit of encouragement and come back around with criticism. That’s hard in all walks of life, whether it’s basketball player or president of the United States.
Dime: I was wondering something, because you were labeled embedded journalism in a way. Ever since the Internet has blown up, especially with Twitter and stuff like that, how do you see journalism from a traditional standpoint. The objectivity is kind of taken with Twitter, the players are straight up tweeting what they see. You were kind of a middle-ground for that. Where do you see that going?
PS: I think the sense is, well, this will make sports journalism obsolete. The problem I see is from a team’s perspective, most of the time we think as fans, “We want more access. That’s only good for us.” Because leagues and teams are so insecure, it seems to me the trend will be toward locking down on that. It seems like we’re in this weird nether region where people don’t really understand where it’s going to go. It’s a fun little universe for a while, but just like when radio came out, now everyone’s going to start their own radio station or whatever. Eventually it gets fizzled down to some control. Not controlling like mind control, but there are pacemakers and outlets that tell you what’s happening. That’s kind of how I see it happening.