FACT CHECK: Is Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Steve Nash Going To Play For The Team?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Steve Nash will be playing for the team against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Facebook/Screenshot

Verdict: False

Wojnarowski has not reported that the Nets plan to use Nash as a player. Coaches are not allowed to play in games under the current NBA rules.

Fact Check:

The Brooklyn Nets are currently leading 3-2 in a series with the Milwaukee Bucks for a chance to advance in the NBA Finals despite not having one of their top guards, Kyrie Irving, according to ESPN. Now, a June 15 Facebook post claims Wojnarowski reported Nash, the team’s head coach and a former player, will be stepping in to play the position in the next game.

“The Brooklyn Nets will start Head Coach Steve Nash at PG tomorrow night vs. Milwaukee, per @wojespn,” reads the post. “Nash is set to make history as the first Head Coach to participate in a playoff game since LeBron James in 2017-18 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.” Below this text is an image of Nash in a Nets uniform.

There is, however, no evidence Wojnarowski reported Nash will be playing in the next Nets game. No such report appears on his verified Twitter account, @wojespn, or on any of his other verified social media accounts. If the head coach of a basketball team was going to play in an NBA game, media outlets would have reported on it, yet no such reports could be found on ESPN or elsewhere.

The Nets defeated the Bucks 114-108 in game 5 of the series on the night of June 15, the same day the Facebook post was shared. Nash did not play in the game, according to the NBA’s official website. (RELATED: Did Larry Bird Tell NBA Players To ‘Shut Up And Play The Damn Game’?)

The claim that LeBron James played while coaching for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2017-2018 season is likewise false. James is listed solely as a player on the 2017-18 team’s roster, according to Sports Reference. The current NBA rules do not allow coaches to play in games, according to the New York Daily News, further adding to the post’s dubiousness. Larry Coon’s NBA salary cap FAQ website further explains the rule was implemented to prevent teams from trying to get around the salary cap.

Dave Cowens was the last person to simultaneously play and coach in the NBA, doing so for the Boston Celtics during the 1978-1979 season, according to Celtics Wire.

The Brooklyn Nets did not return a request for comment.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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