________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 1 . . . . September 5, 1997

cover Long Shot: Steve Nash's Journey to the NBA.

Jeff Rud.
Vancouver, BC: Polestar Books, 1996.
160pp., paperback, $18.95 Can, $16.96 US.
ISBN 1-896095-16-X.

Subject Headings:
Nash, Steve, 1974-
Basketball players-Biography.
National Basketball Association.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.
Review by Alison Mews.

*** /4


One day, when Stephen was about 11, he stayed out in the backyard and juggled his soccer ball for 612 touches, keeping the ball in the air off his feet, knees and head, John [his father] says, still shaking his head in disbelief. He came into the house and he fell down, exhausted. He was always doing things like that.
That kind of determination continued and then mutated when Steve eventually turned his full attention to basketball. During his junior high and high school summers, he often played basketball for as many as eight hours a day. And when the other kids went home to eat supper, or out with their friends, Steve hit the playground alone, setting himself up with a regimented workout schedule. One day, he would assign 500 jump shots to be made before he would allow himself to leave court. The next day, it would be 200 free throws. Steve made a schedule and he stuck with it, refusing to go home until his job was complete. It wasn't like work, really. Steve looked at it as more of a challenge. But often that challenge meant going home in the dark, alone.

      Long Shot is an inspirational biography of a young Canadian athlete who beat the odds and made it to the prestigious NBA league. The odds of an American basketball star getting into the NBA are 7,600 to 1, but for a Canadian the chances are microscopic. As indicated in the subtitle, this book chronicles the journey of Steve Nash towards his NBA draft pick rather than his career since. Jeff Rud is well-positioned to write this biography since, as the sports columnist in Nash's home town of Victoria, he has followed Nash's rise to stardom from his high school days.

      In an effort to make this biography interesting and appealing to young people, Rud employs a variety of writing styles and sprinkles numerous photographs throughout the book. Written in a narrative fashion and covering Nash's life to present day, the first chapter introduces Nash and his early years. Chapter two switches back in time to Nash's thoughts as he relaxed on his condo patio before a pre-season college tournament. Readers are then treated to an in-depth description of the tournament and play-by-play of the first game. The remaining chapters take readers further back to Nash's high school days and proceed in a more linear fashion through Nash's life story. Because much of the text is composed of reminiscences, it is apparent that Jeff Rud had access to Steve Nash, his family and other key people. Readers are treated to a "you-were-there" description of Nash's meteoric rise. Rud's use of Nash's given name throughout increases reader intimacy.

      Rud stresses that Nash's achievement is more attributable to hard work and practise than to talent and luck. The book's main messages are that Steve Nash is a role model for Canadian teenagers with dreams, and that determination and perseverance can pay off. Because of the inclusion of play-by-play descriptions and details of NCAA and NBA routines, it is doubtful that teenagers with dreams other than making it in basketball will be attracted to this book. However, readers who share Nash's dream won't be disappointed in this biography.


Alison Mews is Coordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland St. John's, Nfld.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364