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 firstname.lastname@example.org