The Brooklyn Nets stunned the NBA world on Thursday morning with the hiring of Steve Nash to be head coach.
Nash is an all-time great NBA point guard, but he has no real coaching experience and no one – outside of Brooklyn, anyway – was aware that was something he’s interested in.
Still, Nash is a legendary point guard and a brilliant basketball mind, and we’ve seen teams hire former players with no experience before. Former NBA guards Jason Kidd and Derek Fisher were both hired without head coaching experience.
“After meeting with a number of highly accomplished coaching candidates from diverse backgrounds, we knew we had a difficult decision to make,” Nets GM Sean Marks said. “In Steve we see a leader, communicator and mentor who will garner the respect of our players. I have had the privilege to know Steve for many years. One of the great on-court leaders in our game, I have witnessed firsthand his basketball acumen and selfless approach to prioritize team success. His instincts for the game, combined with an inherent ability to communicate with and unite players towards a common goal, will prepare us to compete at the highest levels of the league. We are excited to welcome Steve, Lilla, Lola, Bella, Matteo, Luca and Ruby to Brooklyn.”
ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith is a fan of Nash, but he believes his hiring is an example of white privilege.
“This is one of the toughest positions I’ve ever had to take,” Smith said. “Ladies and gentlemen, there’s no way around this. This is white privilege. This does not happen for a Black man.”
I love Steve Nash! But……. pic.twitter.com/lo73hhoM0q
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 3, 2020
As others have pointed out, this has happened for a Black man. Kidd and Fisher were both hired without any coaching experience immediately following their playing careers.
Smith’s coworker, Jay Williams, disagreed with him on Twitter.
Come on SA. Steve Nash being chosen over Mark Jackson/Ty Lue is not “White Privilege”.. 2 superstar black athletes ultimately made the decision & we know who they are and what they are about. https://t.co/7lmTjkbiFK
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) September 3, 2020
As Williams points out, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant played a huge role in determining who the Nets hired. If they wanted Ty Lue or Mark Jackson, that’s probably who Brooklyn would have hired.