Nets Coach Steve Nash Says He 'Skipped the Line' While Responding to Critics

The Brooklyn Nets announced on Thursday that former NBA star Steve Nash would become the head coach of the team. This news prompted criticism from former player Charles Oakley and ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, who said that Nash got the job because of "white privilege." Now the new head coach has responded to the critics while speaking about his lack of experience.

Nash took part in a virtual press conference on Wednesday as the official new head coach of the Nets. He acknowledged that he "skipped the line" and got the job before figures with longer resumes. However, Nash also explained why he feels he is still qualified to lead this team to greatness. Specifically, he mentioned leading a team as a player for an extended amount of time.

"Well, I did skip the line, frankly," Nash said during his press conference. "But at the same time, I think leading an NBA team [as a player] for almost two decades is pretty unique. So, while I haven't necessarily learned some of the skills that I'll definitely seek to understand and learn as far as the technical aspects of coaching, I was never far from that."

This statement comes in the wake of Oakley saying that "he never knew" Nash wanted to coach. The former New York Knicks star made the comments to TMZ and said that the league needs more Black coaches. He also said that the Nash hiring in Brooklyn goes to show that they "are still behind the 8 ball."

As Nash continued to explain, he wasn't just "sitting in a vacuum" during his career. He collaborated with his head coaches and helped lead the team while taking part in the action on the court. He also cited his time working as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.

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"It's unique. I understand, you know, that I did skip the lines in many respects," Nash continued. "At the same time, there are some experiences there that other people just aren't going to have because of the type of career and the length of career that I had."

With his qualifications covered, Nash then moved on and discussed the stars on his team. He talked about Kyrie Irving, who will return from a shoulder injury in 2021. Fans expect the young star to partner with Kevin Durant and become an unstoppable tandem in Brooklyn. Nash doesn't know if they will find success, but he is "excited to develop his relationship" with Irving and coach him for the foreseeable future.