NBA Draft: Tyler Ennis believes Steve Nash won’t give up on recovery

Anytime he needed an encouraging word or an attentive ear, Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis reached out to Lakers guard Steve Nash.

That relationship stems from Nash serving as the general manager of the Canadian’s national basketball team. Ennis, who grew up Ontario, leaned on first-hand experience to express confidence Nash will successfully heal nerve issues in his back that kept him out last season for all but 15 games.

“I know he’s working hard,” Ennis said. “I know he’s not going to give up until he can’t go anywhere. That’s all you can ask for. If he’s out there, you’re going to have one of the best point guards that ever played.”

Incidentally, Nash was at the Lakers’ practice facility on Wednesday to watch some of the pre-draft workouts. There, Nash and Ennis caught up, but the conversation had nothing to do with Nash’s recovery or the even the Lakers.

“It was more about him mentoring me in college and helping me transition to the NBA workouts,” Ennis said. “In college, he talked to me a lot. He would watch my games and see things I could improve on and tell me about it. He would talk about sticking to my routine, working out and getting my body right.”

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

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Steve Nash to narrate NBA TV’s documentary on 1984 NBA Draft

Steve Nash talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

Steve Nash talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

After orchestrating so many dazzling plays on the court, Lakers guard Steve Nash will soon perform something that does not involve running the pick-and-roll. Nash will narrate the NBA TV’s upcoming documentary on the 1984 NBA Draft titled “The84Draft” during its airing on Monday, June 9 at 9 p.m. ET.

Nash will host certain segments of the program, providing insight on his own talented 1996 draft class and perspective on some of the idols from the 84 class that he idolized, including Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and John Stockton.

It will be interesting to hear what Nash has to say about Jordan after once sharing on the Dan Patrick Show that as a rookie he once asked Jordan to for his shoes mere hours the former Chicago Bulls star Nash up during a game. Nash would also have a unique take on Stockton, who remains the NBA’s all-time assists leader with 15,806. Nash rests in third place with 10,335 assists.

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

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Tyler Ennis gushes about possibly teaming with Steve Nash on Lakers

teve Nash talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

teve Nash talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

CHICAGO — Upon hearing Steve Nash’s name mentioned, Tyler Ennis’ eyes lit up.

As with any point guard hoping to make his mark in the NBA, Ennis has admired Nash’s crafty playmaking that ensured a future Hall of Fame nod, two MVP awards and a fourth-place standing on the league’s all-time assists list. But Ennis’ affection for Nash goes beyond his skillset.

After starring at Syracuse through one season, Ennis credited Nash’ role as the general manager of the Canadian men’s basketball team spurring his growth. Hence, why Ennis gushed about the Lakers possibly drafting him.

“Nash is definitely one of the best point guards who played the game and he’s one of my favorite players,” Ennis said. “To go to a team and learn from him would be amazing for my career.”
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Sports Spectacular to honor Steve Nash

Steve Nash talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

Steve Nash talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

This will hardly match the two NBA MVP awards. Or the third place standing on the NBA’s all-time assists list. But in a season in which Steve Nash seemingly compiled more medical updates than dazzling passes, here is a rare feel-good moment.

Sports Spectacular will honor Nash for the Spirit Award on May 18th at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel, an award that highlights Nash’s various philanthropic efforts.

Nash will receive his award alongside Tony Gonzalez, who will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and UFC President Dana White, who will be presented with the Visionary Award for changing the landscape of sports.

Nash has self-named youth camps and fitness centers all over Canada. Jenny Miller, the executive director of Nash’s foundation, said he pays the entire $120,000 operating budget so entire donations go toward underserved children. One of those initiatives titled BC Grants has raised $800,000 for kids in his hometown province of British Columbia.

The various contributions earned him the Order of Canada in 2007, the country’s highest civilian honor. A year later, Nash received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. And now, he will collect a Spirit Award after showing that despite an otherwise depressing season.

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

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Donald Sterling scandal: Steve Nash, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among Lakers’ supporters at L.A. City Hall

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks during a press conference at Los Angeles city hall regarding NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's banning of Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA April 29, 2014.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks during a press conference at Los Angeles city hall regarding NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s banning of Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA April 29, 2014.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

Something about the Clippers sparked an emotional chord with the Lakers.

This did not involve outrage over the Clippers displaying posters that covered up the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jerseys. This did not entail the Lakers expressing resentment over the Clippers’ superior success. This focused on the reaction surrounding Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racially denigrating comments on an audio tape.

Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, forward A.C. Green, current guard Steve Nash and former forward Luke Walton represented a handful of both former and current NBA players going to L.A. City Hall on Tuesday to express their support for NBA commissioner Adam Silver punishing Sterling with a life-time ban.

“When you get this many Lakers to stand up for the Clippers,” Mayor Eric Garcetti quipped, “you know something big is happening in L.A.”
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Dirk Nowitzki tells Steve Nash he’s skeptical he’d return if he had similar injury

The reminiscing suddenly ended. So did Steve Nash’s effusive praise for former Mavericks teammate Dirk Nowtizki winning his first NBA championship in 2011. So did their hypothetical scenarios on what would have happened if Nash re-signed to stay with the Mavericks in 2004 instead of joining the Phoenix Suns.

Instead, Nash asked Nowitzki about something that has become a season-long frustration for the Lakers guard. With Nash playing only 21 games because of nerve root irritation in his back, asked his one of his best friends something that made him initially uncomfortable?

“What would you do if you were me?” Nash asked in the latest Grantland series chronicling his recovery. “Would you come back?”

Nowtizki laughed, but that just camouflaged both his surprise at the question and the awkward feeling over processing something so sensitive.

“That’s a tough question,” Nowitzki said before trailing off.

“As an outsider and as a friend,” Nash said, “what would you do if you were me?”

Nowtizki then revealed something that strikes both at the chord surrounding Nash’s never-ending struggles and how that’s just reinforced his uncompromising determination in overcoming it.

“I’m not sure bro. I mean I’m honest,” Nowtizki said. “With what you’re going through and all the treatments, being in and out, I don’t know if I could do all the rehab, knowing it doesn’t really get better and then play one game and it gets worse again. I don’t know if I could do it.”


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

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Mark Jackson wishes Steve Nash surpassed his assists during Lakers-Warriors game

Lakers#10 Steve Nash gets a high five from Lakers#20 Jodie Meeks after making his 4th assist on the night. The Houston Rockets traveled to Los Angeles to play the Lakers in a regular season game at Staples Center. Los Angeles, CA. April 8, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers#10 Steve Nash gets a high five from Lakers#20 Jodie Meeks after making his 4th assist on the night. The Houston Rockets traveled to Los Angeles to play the Lakers in a regular season game at Staples Center. Los Angeles, CA. April 8, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

With each pass pushing Steve Nash past him atop the NBA’s all-time assist ranking, Golden State Warriors Mark Jackson hardly uttered the words that turned into a memorable catchphrase during his ESPN broadcasting gig.

Jackson resisted yelling “hand down, man down” on the television screen each time Nash made a play. Instead, the Warriors coach actively rooted for Nash to replace him at the No. 3 spot in the Lakers’ loss Tuesday to the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.

“I respect his greatness and it was good to see,” Jackson said Wednesday in an interview with this newspaper. “There was no side of me pulling against him. At any point, my day will come and go and whatever I accomplished will fade away.”

Still, Jackson conceded he wished Nash would have broken his record when the Lakers (25-53) host the Golden State Warriors (48-29) Friday at Staples Center.

“I would’ve blown a timeout and congratulated him,” said Jackson, who ranks fourth overall with 10,334 assists. “In an ideal world, Steve would have done this the same time we were on the floor. I would be sitting, watching and appreciating it all.”
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Steve Nash says Mike D’Antoni wants him to return to move up on assists list

Steve Nash holds a theory on why he will play when the Lakers (25-51) host the Houston Rockets (51-25) at Staples Center.

Sure, Nash loves the game. The Lakers are in dire need of bodies considering Kent Bazemore’s season-ending right foot injury leaves them with an eight-man rotation. Even if the Lakers have no chance of making the playoffs, Nash wants to use the five remaining games as “a barometer” in what his offseason work will entail in healing the nerve irritation in his back.

But there’s another reason why Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni changed his decision to play Nash despite Jordan Farmar returning tonight after missing the past 11 games because of a strained right groin. Nash remains five assists away from climbing up to third place on the NBA’s all-time list.

“Mike really wants me to get this assist thing out of the way,” Nash said. “Now I would really like to get it out of the way frankly. It’s out there in the air and everybody is talking about it in a way.”
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Mike D’Antoni says Steve Nash will keep playing this season

in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Calif., on Friday, April 4, 2014.  (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Calif., on Friday, April 4, 2014.
(Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

At some point when Steve Nash kept making the dazzling passes that will earn him an eventual induction in the Hall of Fame, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni approached him with a simple message.

“This is not your last game,” D’Antoni said, mindful that Nash had suggested that very idea mere hours before the Lakers’ 107-95 loss Friday to the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center became official.
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Steve Nash believes Lakers-Mavs game will mark last game of season

In this file photo, Los Angeles Lakers' Steve Nash, left, shoots over Chicago Bulls' Kirk Hinrich during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. (Chris Carlson/AP file)

In this file photo, Los Angeles Lakers’ Steve Nash, left, shoots over Chicago Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. (Chris Carlson/AP file)

Plenty can change within 24 hours for Steve Nash.

Persisting nerve pain, continuous wear and tear on a 40-year-old body and a revolving door in the Lakers’ training room all have fueled unpredictability to an already messy season.

But once  Nash steps on the floor when the Lakers (25-50) host the Dallas Mavericks (45-31) Friday night at Staples Center, the ensuing moments could mark his last game of the season.

“This could be it tonight,” Nash said. “We’ll see. You never know what happens.”

Yet, Nash believes this scenario will unfold for two reasons despite the Lakers having seven games left.

Though he felt no additional pain in his sprained left ankle and nerve irritation in his back, Nash expressed skepticism he could recover in time to play when the Lakers visit the Clippers for a designated road game on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. The Lakers are also eying the possibility that Farmar will return on Tuesday when the Lakers host the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. The Lakers then plan to shut Nash down so he can focus on his recovery while the Lakers evaluate how Farmar fits into their free agency plans.

Though Nash has played in only 7.3 points on 37.1 percent shooting and 5.7 assists through 13 games, he could finish the 2013-14 season in a much better physical state than in his first season with the Lakers. Then, Nash missed a combined 32 games because of a fractured left leg and ensuing nerve damage in his hamstrings and back. The latter injury hurt Nash so much that he could not even sprint in the Lakers’ first two playoff games to San Antonio before ultimately shutting it down. Nash reported his progress in the summer mostly entailed improving his postural stability and movement patterns before sprinting in late August and early September shortly before training camp.

“I’ll probably play more basketball,” Nash said of his offseason plans. “I couldn’t play basketball until September last year. I couldn’t play a lot last year. We’ll see. I have no idea how my body will respond so I’ll give it a shot.”

Meanwhile, Nash faces uncertainty on if he will actually return next season.

The Lakers could waive him via the stretch provision by Aug. 31, which would enable them to owe only $3 million of Nash’s $9.8 million salary annually through three years. But Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has said he will leave that decision up to Nash, who has vowed he play out his contract. The Lakers also would maximize their financial flexibility keeping Nash next season since his salary would come completely off the books in time to pursue a talented 2015 free agency class, including Minnesota’s Kevin Love.

But first things first.

Nash will play at least one more game with a chance to add on to his Hall of Fame worthy resume that includes two league MVP awards. Nash, who has compiled 10,323 career assists, remains 12 assists away from surpassing Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson (10,334) for third place on the NBA’s all-time assist list. The milestone appears reachable tonight considering Nash has averaged nine assists in the last three games he has played. Nash would then trail only John Stockton (15,806 assists) and Jason Kidd (12,091 assists).

“They were both two one of the greatest point guards to ever play,” Nash said. “I got to play against both of them and two guys I look up to. It’s great to be on a list. I feel fortunate I’ve been able to play as well as I have.”

At least for one more game.

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

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