Originally published in SLAM 103

The 6th Man: Back in September, I did something I try not to do very often: I took the subway. I’ve lived in NYC about seven years, and I’ve always managed to live close enough to walk to and from work every day. But as any Rotten Apple dweller knows, sometimes the train is the only logical way between two points.

It was a Friday night, and I was leaving Rucker Park, where I’d just checked out our man Kevin Love and a slew of other prep All-Americans at the first annual Elite 24 game—props to longtime SLAM homies Kris, Burton and Rivers for pulling that off. Anyway, since there’s an A/C station right across from the park, and since I didn’t feel like dropping $20 for a cab ride downtown, I walked over and waited for my train.

Apparently, Steve Nash didn’t want to spend the $20 either.

Yes, that Steve Nash, just standing there on the platform, waiting for the train. We ended up on the same car, and having met a few times before, we bullshitted for a minute about soccer (my Everton team having beaten his Tottenham side the week before), kids and hoops. And then he got off, unbothered by anyone else. New York being the hoops town that it is, maybe I should’ve been offended that no one seemed to recognize him—although his new haircut and hipster-with-a-Nike-deal steez made him sorta incognito. But I just think it’s cool that Nasty is the kind of guy who doesn’t let guaranteed Hall of Fame status keep him from riding the subway on a Friday night.

Excuse the half-assed segue, but I’m guessing there would’ve been a different reaction if the slightly more imposing figures of Ben Wallace and Amare Stoudemire had stepped onto the train. Both of these guys are turning an important page in their careers, and we couldn’t think of more compelling stories to lead our NBA Preview. Yeah, it’s that time of year again. Thank God.


Ryan Jones

Issue 103 Ben WallaceIssue 103 Amare