Eight-time NBA All-Star Steve Nash announced his retirement Saturday in a letter addressed to fans, expressing trepidation in leaving a game he's played professionally for 19 years.
"When you're a teenager with outsized dreams and a growing obsession, and someone tells you this ain't gonna last forever, it's scary," Nash wrote in The Player's Tribune, a website for which he is the senior producer. "I never forgot it."
But the 41-year-old guard for the Los Angeles Lakers wrote he was "excited to learn to do something else."
"At the heart of this letter, I'm speaking to kids everywhere who have no idea what the future holds or how to take charge of their place in it," Nash wrote. "When I think of my career, I can't help but think of the kid with his ball, falling in love. That's still what I identify with and did so throughout my entire story."
Nash was a sharp shooter on the court known for his speed, but also leaves the NBA with 10,335 assists -- the third highest figure in the league's history.
With an accuracy of 90.4%, he also retires as as the best free-throw shooter in NBA history.
"It's bittersweet," Nash wrote in his letter. "I already miss the game deeply."
Nash's retirement had been expected for some time.
The Associated Press reported a persistent back problem had been keeping Nash from playing any games this year.
He had also been struggling since he was signed with the Lakers in 2012, breaking a leg in his second game.
"When I signed with the Lakers, I had big dreams of lifting the fans up and lighting this city on fire," he wrote. "I turned down more lucrative offers to come to L.A. because I wanted to be in the "fire," and play for high risk and high reward in my last NBA chapter."
The peak era of Nash's career was perhaps during his time with the Phoenix Suns, where won his MVP awards in 2005 and 2006.
However, it was also a time where a championship was just outside the team's grasp.
"It will always hurt that Phoenix Suns fans didn't get the championship they deserved during our run," he wrote. "Yes, we had some bad luck but I always look back at it and think, I could've made one more shot, or not forced a turnover, or made a better pass. But I don't regret anything."
Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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