Mark Jackson says he’s honored to be held in Steve Nash’s company

Persisting pain in his back has prevented Steve Nash from showcasing why he’s climbed up to fourth place on the NBA’s all-time assists list.

But should Nash play at any point this season, it’s likely he will climb up that list. He’s compiled 10,278 assists in 1,208 games through 18 seasons, leaving him 57 shy of passing Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson for the No. 3 spot.

“He’s an all-time great and he’s a guy that did it the right way,” Jackson said. “A true professional, a class act. Hopefully he comes back quickly and healthy, but he’s a guy that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. And I always tell my kids or anybody that asks (if) I get concerned when guys that I think can’t play are about to pass me on the assists list. That has not happened yet. It’s been guys that I consider all-time greats and it’s an honor for me to be in any category with those guys.”

Nash climbed from fifth to fourth last season after surpassing former Lakers great Magic Johnson, who compiled 10,141 assists in 906 games. But he still trails Jackson (10,334 assists), Jason Kidd (12,091 assists) and John Stockton (15,806).

Jackson played 17 seasons until age 39 with stints in New York, the Clippers, Indiana, Denver, Toronto and Houston, averaging eight assists per game. Meanwhile, the 39-year-old Nash has averaged 8.5 assists per game. Does Jackson see any similarities?

“I have no MVP awards,” Jackson said with a laugh.

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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