The NBA’s Anti-War MVP

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Kudos to the National Basketball Assocition for rewarding Suns guard Steve Nash’s brilliant year with a Most Valuable Player Award. (I remember watching Nash outplay superstar Jason Kidd in a college game in 1993 and thinking “Who’s this skinny Canadian kid with big hair, eh?”) Much ink has now been spilled over Nash’s skin color (white) and the alleged racism the award therefore represents, but Nash’s anti-war views have received less attention. Nash happens to be a stalwart opponent of US interventionism, as Counterpunch’s Dave Zirin reminds us.

Nash was the first high profile athlete to come out against Dick Cheney’s “war of a generation” showing up at the 2003 All-Star game in 2003 wearing a T-shirt that read, “Shoot baskets not people.” When questioned on his incendiary attire, Nash said, “I think that war is wrong in 99.9 percent of all cases. I think [Operation Iraqi Freedom] has much more to do with oil or some sort of distraction, because I don’t feel as though we should be worrying about Iraq.” He also showed far more prescience than Bush, Cheney, Colin Powell or Condoleeza Rice saying, “I think that Saddam Hussein is a crazy dictator but I don’t think he’s threatening us at this point in time. We haven’t found any nuclear weapons — no matter what anyone says — and that process is still under way. Until that’s finished and decided I don’t think that war is acceptable.” He then reiterated his position that, “Unfortunately, this is more about oil than it is about nuclear weapons.”

Nash also took issue with the pro-war media. Two years before the New York Times and The Washington Post were forced to issue apologies for their slavish, slothful pro-war coverage, Nash said, “I think a lot of what we hear in the news is misleading and flat-out false, so I think it’s important for us to THINK deeper and find out what is really going on.”

11:17 am on May 10, 2005