Nash reluctant to take on Captain Canada role again

Thu Dec 6, 2007 6:14am EST
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By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - Steve Nash teased Canadian basketball fans with another masterful display on Wednesday, dishing out a season-high 18 assists to lift the Phoenix Suns to a 136-123 win over the Toronto Raptors.

With Nash masterminding Phoenix's potent attack, Leandro Barbosa scored 35 points as the Suns took their win streak to four games.

Known as Captain Canada in the Great White North after a decade of representing his country on the international stage, Nash retired from national duty in 2004.

But with the Beijing Olympics on the horizon and Canada still having an outside chance of qualifying, Canadians are hoping the NBA's twice most valuable player might reconsider.

Nash received the usual rousing ovation from a capacity crowd at the Air Canada Centre on his only regular season appearance in his homeland but his arrival was followed by lively debate over whether he should don the Maple Leaf again.


Newspaper, sports radio and television talk shows spent a good part of Wednesday discussing the issue, while the Olympic question was the first put to Nash during a pre-game scrum.

"I am a little surprised, I didn't know people were still talking about it," Nash told reporters. "I wish I could play.   Continued...

<p>Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash drives to the basket between Toronto Raptors guard Jose Calderon (L) and Anthony Parker (R) during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto, December 5, 2007. REUTERS/Mike Cassese</p>