Steve Nash

After 19 years in the league, guard Steve Nash announced his retirement.

In a letter, published on The Players’ Tribune, the 41-year-old expressed his gratitude and love for the game.

“The greatest gift has been to be completely immersed in my passion and striving for something I loved so much — visualizing a ladder, climbing up to my heroes,” he wrote. “The obsession became my best friend. I talked to her, cherished her, fought with her and got knocked on my ass by her.

“And that is what I’m most thankful for in my career. In my entire life, in some ways,” Nash continued. “Obviously, I value my kids and my family more than the game, but in some ways having this friend — this ever-present pursuit — has made me who I am, taught me and tested me, and given me a mission that feels irreplaceable. I am so thankful. I’ve learned so many invaluable lessons about myself and about life. And of course I still have so much to learn. Another incredible gift.”

Nash didn’t play this season with the Los Angeles Lakers because of injuries. He finishes his career a two-time MVP and third on the all-time assists list, behind John Stockton and Jason Kidd, with 10,335 assists.

Furthermore, he’s the most accurate free throw shooter in NBA history, edging Mark Price’s career mark at 90.4 percent. And, during nine straight seasons from 2001-02 in Dallas through 2008-09 in Phoenix, Nash led NBA teams that ranked No. 1 in the league in offense.

“When people ask me if I have a favorite game or play or moment on the court that stands out the most, I can’t answer them,” Nash wrote. “It all blends into one. What comes to mind are all the great teammates I’ve played with and the friends I’ve made through the years.”