When it comes to basketball, Victoria's Steve Nash has done it all. He is a former league MVP - twice. He is an NBA MVP and has been named to the all-star team seven times. He has won the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, the Lou Marsh Trophy and is a three-time winner of the Lionel Conacher Award as Canada's male athlete of the year.
But for all his success, Nash has also been big at giving back. Five years ago Nash founded the Steve Nash Youth Basketball League in B.C., an after-school program that now has 10,000 participants across the province. The program has also been extended across the country, with programs from coast to coast.
The program will arrive in Whistler for the first time this fall and winter, with Alan Kristmanson - a former member of the Canadian national team who competed for Canada in 1988 in the Seoul Olympics - taking charge.
Kristmanson said he's wanted to get more involved with youth basketball for years, but as a father, golf pro and now manager of the Whistler Golf Club he hasn't had the time until now.
"I've obviously known about the Steve Nash Youth Basketball program by just being involved in basketball, but this is the first year I've been able to do something like this. My kids are now eight and 10 years old and I just felt it was time," he said.
The program will get underway on Tuesday, Oct. 4 and will run on almost every Tuesday through Feb. 7. That's 16 sessions, with a registration fee of $150.
The Grade 4/5 program takes place from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. at Myrtle Philip, while the Grade 6/7 boys and girls will play from 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
"We start off each session with 45 minutes of skills and drills and then play games," said Kristmanson. "I expect it will start small through word-of-mouth, and then we'll hopefully be able to create teams and create a bit of a league."
The nets will be raised or lowered depending on the age group.
The sessions are co-ed, but Kristmanson hopes that the numbers will be high enough to have separate boys and girls' leagues.
"The goal is to hopefully grow some players and some coaches as well as parents getting involved, so when the kids are in Grade 8, 9, 10 there will be lots of players willing to play (for the high school) and parents willing to step in that have a working knowledge of the game."
Through Steve Nash Youth Basketball, all kids who sign up will receive a team jersey and a hat.
Registration is available online at www.whistlerbasketball.com.