Steve Nash took one last run at an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers before closing his 18-year career in part due to back and knee injuries. The Lakers’ superstar team never did win that title together, instead proving a disappointment.
Nash, a two-time MVP and Naismith Hall of Fame inductee, discussed the 2012-13 Lakers’ faults with Bill Simmons on his podcast for The Ringer this week when he mentioned he’s still experiencing the ramifications of breaking his knee two games into being a Laker.
Nash ‘wasn’t quite the same’ after leg fracture
Nash joined the Lakers in 2012 and two games into the season collided with Portland Trail Blazers then-rookie Damian Lillard. He was diagnosed with a fracture in his left leg. The following season he left a game with nerve irritation in the same leg.
The eight-time All-Star told Simmons he broke the joint of the tibia and fibula in his knee, known as a “tib-fib” fracture. He said he’s “still not the same” from the injury.
“Honestly, since that break, my body’s different just the way it responds to everything. ... I wasn’t quite the same [and] wasn’t moving great forever more.”
Coupled with his back issues, he said it created what’s known as a double crush syndrome. It’s a “distinct compression” at two or more spots along the peripheral nerve that coexist and “increase symptom intensity,” according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Nash, 45, retired after playing 15 games of the 2013-14 season and is now a commentator for soccer and the NBA on TNT.
Nash explains why Lakers fell short
The 2012-13 Lakers were a championship contender that flamed out short of expectations. Nash told Simmons it was a “great idea,” but not a “great fit.”
“You add it all up, I don’t know if it ever would have worked. It just, it was doomed.”
Nash experienced his broken knee two games into the year. He told Simmons that Pau Gasol was exhausted after spending his offseasons playing for Spain, Dwight Howard was coming off back surgery and Metta World Peace “wasn’t quite the same,” either.
He acknowledged Kobe Bryant was playing at a high level, but doesn’t think it would have been a title team.
“It’s just the pieces. It was such — a lot of old dogs, new tricks. And you know, we already talked about how temperamental a chemistry is on a basketball team in particular of all the sports in a sense. That balance looking back on it now, I’m not sure it ever would have worked.”
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