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Steve Nash will use his voice as Nets coach: ‘It’s important to support this fight’

The first-time NBA coach plans to use his platform to speak out against social injustice, police brutality and racism

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Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr are two white NBA head coaches who have not been afraid to tackle issues of social injustice and racial inequality publicly for years. Expect new Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash to do the same during the current movement for equality.

“As a human being, it’s hard to live with racial injustice,” Nash told The Undefeated in a phone interview on Thursday. “It’s important for white people to take a deep look at what is occurring in our communities and what has been occurring for 400 years. A component of this conversation needs to be that white people need to not be offensive about white privilege or inequality. They just need to be honest, have those conversations and ask ourselves how we would feel if we had endured this 400-plus-year history.

“So, for me, it’s hurtful and it’s wrong. That’s why I have expressed my opinion on the matters because some of us are hurting and it’s not fair.”

The Nets hired Nash to be their new head coach on Thursday, while also announcing they will keep former interim coach Jacque Vaughn on the staff. Nash, who is a Hall of Fame point guard and two-time NBA MVP, has no coaching experience, but has strong relationships with both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. He was previously a part-time player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors, where he spent time with Durant.

Steve Nash looks on as Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors warms up prior to a game against the Indiana Pacers on March 27, 2018, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Nash, 46, told The Undefeated that he talked to both Nets stars before taking the job.

“Frankly, we’re just all excited,” Nash said. “It’s that honeymoon period. We are all thrilled we get a chance to do this and do this together. Shortly, we will get to get to work. Unfortunately, it won’t be necessarily on the court with the guys. But in terms of doing work behind the scenes, we will continue to build our culture.”

While Nash will be focused on bringing a title to Brooklyn, he is also confident he will be able to use his platform with the franchise to speak out against social injustice, police brutality and racism.

Nets owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai announced recently they will donate $50 million to social justice and community initiatives focusing on benefiting the Black community in Brooklyn, New York. The $50 million is slated to be distributed over the next 10 years after consultation with Nets players and employees as well as community leaders.

“In the community, they have put their time, energy and resources,” said Nash, who was born in Johannesburg. “To me, it’s an unbelievable opportunity to work with a team in an incredible city with an incredible ownership and a talented roster.”

Nash also has a strong voice on social media with 2.6 million followers on Twitter, where he features a profile picture of George Floyd, the unarmed Black man who died while in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death sparked worldwide protests against police brutality, racism and social injustice.

When asked why he uses Floyd as his profile picture, Nash said: “It’s important to support this fight. We’re going through a wave of protesting and a demand for change. But this fight has been going on for hundreds of years.

“It’s important to support it and give the people on the front lines the power, confidence and backing that they deserve to seek equality.”

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for The Undefeated. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.