Rather Than Trying to Shame Steve Nash into Retirement, Celebrate His Resolve

LOS ANGELES — Way too many professional athletes with healthy bodies don’t come close to giving their all.

Brittle-boned Steve Nash, with such laurels that he could weld those two NBA MVP trophies into a sweet old-man walker to rest on, is still going for it.

Yet people are shouting from every corner for the oldest player in the league to give it up.

It’s a shame.

Nash got his hobble back on Sunday in the Lakers’ first ABC Sunday showcase game from Staples Center this season. He had been the last Los Angeles starter introduced, former champions Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol injured along with upstart scoring leader Nick Young.

(To be sure, Nash’s celebrity is hardly what it once was. Before the Lakers’ very not-nationally televised game against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night, Michael Barkann on Comcast SportsNet’s 76ers pregame TV show said of the Lakers: “Not anyone you would know really…”)

Nash started well enough Sunday in his third game back since nerve irritation in his back put him out for nearly three months. Then in the third quarter, he took a light blow from Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich to the left knee joint that cracked in an October 2012 collision with Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard in Nash’s second game as a Laker.

Nash asked to stay in the game despite the uncomfortable “on fire” sensation from the nerves that have remained damaged through his body since that awkwardly located injury. He left the game once the body mechanics he worked so hard to re-establish to protect his nerve system were being compromised by the knee, resulting in a limp.

Before his injury diagnosis was even announced—for the record, Nash plans to practice Monday and play against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday—the cynics seized the moment to implore Nash to give it...

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