Thanks to Tim Donaghy, LeBron’s Cavs & Steve Nash’s Suns never met in ’07 Finals, says Amare Stoudemire

Last weekend, Steve Nash was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

An eight-time NBA All-Star, the decorated Canadian basketball player was a seven-time All-NBA selection and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player while playing for the Phoenix Suns.

One of Nash’s best assets? Amare Stoudemire.

Nash and Stoudemire were teammates in Phoenix from 2005-2010 and put on a show!

Nash made sure to thank Stoudemire in his induction speech. “In Phoenix, I got to play with Amare Stoudemire,” Nash said.

“I didn’t really watch a lot of film when I played. I certainly don’t want to look back now. But whenever something comes across my timeline or I see a pick-and-roll with Amare, it makes me smile. This guy was the ultimate target for a point guard. He made the game a lot of fun.”

Stoudemire was present at Nash’s ceremony on Friday at the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. He hasn’t said much publicly since Nash’s induction, but did take to instagram and Twitter to tribute his Hall of Fame point guard.

Stoudemire posted on his now Private Instagram account: 

“Congrats to my Boi ‘2 time” (Steve Nash). The nickname that @jalenvseverybody gave him in Phoenix @suns (2x MVP) such a honor to have been your teammate #rockstars. Congrats on becoming immortal. #class2018 #dyanmicduo NashxStat. cheers #1love #HallofFame 

“It was a special moment,” Stoudemire told me.

Nash and Stoudemire made the Suns a title contender and went toe to toe in the NBA’s Western Conference with Kobe’s Los Angeles Lakers, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker’s San Antonio Spurs and Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks.

On Saturday, Stoudemire was on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. He played at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Byron Scott’s Primetime Basketball League, a new 5-on-5, full court, pro summer basketball league.

Stoudemire said he wouldn’t have missed Steve Nash’s induction for the world and since Nash’s enshrinement, he’s been reflective on he and Nash’s time together. “My first three years, I didn’t completely understand what we were doing,” he said.

“But we were doing something special. At the time it was happening so fast, we didn’t really know exactly what was going on until year two or year three.”

One of the biggest ‘what ifs’ of the Phoenix Suns’ franchize is the question: What if the Suns had gone to the NBA Finals in 2007?!

“We would have had a great chance to win against Cleveland,” Stoudemire told me.

“We were playing at an extremely high level that year.”

If you’re tardy to the party, the Suns had a phenomenal year and were on the track to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. That all changed in Game 4 of the 2007 Western Conference between the San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns.

With only a bit of time remaining, Spurs forward, Robert Horry knocked Steve Nash into the scorer’s table, leaving the former MVP a bloody mess.

Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were on the Suns’ bench at the time and rushed to the court to defend Nash’s honor. For those keeping score at home, that is a no-no in the NBA rule book.

The league suspended Horry for two games and handed Stoudemire and Diaw a one-game suspension for leaving the “immediate vicinity of the Suns bench.”

“Boris and myself had no idea of that rule and we retaliate off natural reaction,” said Stoudemire.

“I was hoping the league would take that into consideration and give out a warning. But they came with the hammer, man.”

The Suns won the game to tie the series at two games apiece. But, without Stoudemire and Diaw, the Spurs overpowered Phoenix and took the series — costing Nash perhaps his best chance at a title.

“I think we would definitely have gotten to the Finals,” said Stoudemire.

Stoudemire breaks deep and cites former NBA referee Tim Donaghy as an independent variable in the series. “There were a lot of discrepancies with San Antonio,” he said.

“Even with the officiating with Donaghy, at the time.”

If you’re just tuning in to the NBA, don’t be alarmed, I got ‘ya!

Tim Donaghy was a former 13-year referee in the NBA. He served time in prison for his role in a huge NBA gambling scandal.

He resigned in 2007.

In his book, Donaghy weighed in on the Spurs/Suns series stating:

“I feel the Phoenix Suns were the best team in in the league in 2007.  And that whole series was officiated poorly, and I give the reasons in the book as to why I feel it was officiated poorly. And one of the reasons is that Tommy Nunez was the supervisor of officials in that series. And he had a dislike for the (Suns) owner Robert Sarver, and he enjoyed the lifestyle in San Antonio, and liked to get back in the next round of the playoffs and continue to go to San Antonio. So it was a situation that he was steering the series to San Antonio in tape sessions.”

Stoudemire’s take? “I mentioned a few things about that series with the Spurs and the Suns. So I’m not exactly sure what was happening. I wish we would have had a chance to play in that game.”

Despite the San Antonio Spurs beating the Phoenix Suns in that 2007 Western Conference semis, advancing to the next round and becoming eventual 2007 NBA champs, Stoudemire doesn’t regret getting off of that bench. “No, I can’t,” he said.

“Because it was a natural reaction and it’s just human nature for me to not only see what’s going on, but also look to protect my teammate and that’s something we’re all accustomed to doing in the basketball and the sporting world.”

Added Stoudemire:

“So I could never say I wish it wouldn’t have happened because I wish I would have known about the rule and my coaching staff knew about the rule, we would have been more aware about the situation, but no one knew at the time. So it’s nothing we could do about it.”

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