The tributes gushed out as quickly as Steve Nash could lead his team on a fast-break.
Lakers coach Byron Scott called Nash a “modern-day Bob Cousy” after collecting two NBA MVP awards, climbing to third place on the league’s all-time assists list and revolutionizing the NBA. Lakers backup center and fellow Canadian Robert Sacre noted how Nash had “always been that guy that Canadians have always looked up to” after he became the first NBA star from that country. Lakers rookie guard Jordan Clarkson recalled idolizing Nash growing up for “making passes people couldn’t see.”
Yet, with Nash officially announcing his retirement from a storied 19-year NBA career, it also closes the chapter surrounding a dark time in the Lakers’ history.
The Lakers acquired Nash from the Phoenix Suns in 2012 in a sign-and-trade worth $28 million for three years, the team willing to trade two first and second-round draft picks for the chance at championship glory.
But Nash played in only 65 of a possible 164 regular-season games amid overlapping nerve issues with his left left, back and hamstrings, ailments that kept him out for the entire 2014-15 campaign. Nash also averaged 11.4 points and 6.4 assists through two seasons, a stark drop from his career averages of 14.4 points and 8.5 assists. Perhaps his only hightlight entailed Nash’s last assist in April, 2014 against Houston allowing him to surpass Mark Jackson on the NBA’s all-time assists list.
Yet, Scott advised Lakers fans to “take a look at everything he’s done over his career and judge him that way, not by what ended up happening here.”
“Obviously it didn’t work out the way he planned or the way he wanted or the way the organization wanted,” Scott said. “But fans also have to look at the fact that the guy did everything possible to get on the court. I don’t think they take that into consideration that he’s hurt and he has some physical problems. But he did everything possible to get on the court.”