Feb. 19, 2005
DENVER, Colo. - Former Santa Clara Unviersity star and current Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash set an all-time course record as he won the 2005 PlayStation Skills Challenge during All-Star Saturday Night presented by America Online. Nash completed the course in 28.7 seconds during the final round, eclipsing the previous record held by Baron Davis of the New Orleans Hornets, who completed the course in 28.7 in the first round of the competition last year.
Nash is scheduled to play for the West squad in the 54th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday (5 p.m. PT, TNT).
The event consisted of four of the NBA's best guards -- Nash along with Seattle's Luke Ridnour, Washington's Gilbert Arenas and Earl Boykins-- racing against the clock through a dribbling, passing and shooting skills obstacle course.
It was the second win of the night for Phoenix, whose trio of Shawn Marion, Diana Taurasi and Dan Majerle won the RadioShack Shooting Stars event to start the evening.
"It's great for the organization," said Nash after his win. "This year has been really exciting for all of the fans, coming out and really getting behind us. I think that was a really important thing for the organization this year."
Nash was on-target throughout the compeition, completing the course in 31.4 seconds in the opening round to advance to the finals along with Boykins (32.6 opening round).
Boykins struggled with the shot from the key during the finals, taking four attempts to hit the jumper and finishing in 37.6 seconds to come in second.
It was surprisingly the shooting, and not the passes, that proved to be the biggest challenges in the course. Before the event, Arenas said, "Shooting and dribbling I can do, but passing into a little hole, I am not sure I can do that yet. But I will do my best and most likely I will come out with the win."
But during the event itself, it was the shooting that proved to be the challenge for Arenas, who missed all five attempts from the top of the key, finishing the course in 51.7 seconds.
Nash, however, was up for the challenge, despite minimal practice time.
"This morning, you know, we did a bit [of practice]," Nash explained. "But I've been struggling a little bit lately, so I didn't want to really run around and do something. So just kind of figured out that bounce pass and then let it go."
Nash also helped teammate Amare Stoudemire garner a 50 on his second dunk of the first round of the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk Contest.
Stoudemire lobbed the ball off the backboard to Nash, who headed it back to him before he grabbed it with one hand for a 360 dunk.
"I think Steve and I brought a lot of creativity to the dunk contest tonight," Stoudemire said. "That's what the NBA needs. "I think it's one they'll play for years. That was real creative and Steve did a great job of using his head. Steve and I talked about it and figured we'd bring it out tonight."
The dunk also flustered eventual winner Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks.
"Yeah, it did psyche me out," said Smith. "That was a good dunk by Amaré and Steve and I knew I had to pull something out of my hat."