Steve Nash Returns to LA Lakers, NBA for as Long as He Can

MINNEAPOLIS — Far, far more of the hours have been spent in rest and rehab than actually playing basketball. So Steve Nash has not lacked time and opportunity to wallow.

We all indulge the hypotheticals from time to time. You can steal a mulligan here and there on the golf course; restart your video game. But you’ll know the truth.

It’s not real life to ask, “What if?” and get a concrete answer. Here’s the only sure thing: Something else—something real, not hypothetical—is going to happen, and you’re better off spending your time preparing for that opportunity rather than lamenting, regretting and wishing.

Nash will be the first to tell you his year-and-a-half as a Los Angeles Laker has been crap. What might it have been?

Who knows? Here’s a real question with a real answer: What was it on a quiet Tuesday night in Minnesota?

It wasn’t so bad.

Nash played again, just his seventh game out of 48 this season—after what he has called the toughest process in his 18-year NBA career—and he played pretty well. Seven points, nine assists, two turnovers…and 25 minutes, more than Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni had imagined for Nash’s first action in three months.

Whatever additional nerve pain in his back arises, whatever jokes are coming at his expense when he turns 40 Friday, whatever lack of NBA championship remains of his resume, Nash didn’t wallow in the what-if world.

So he earned himself that postgame can of Coors Light and a couple packed in ice for the road—plus a positive feeling that resonated with surprising depth and meaning to him.

“It’s been a tough road,” Nash said after the game, “but tonight there’s a part of me that feels like a kid, like a rookie that got to play in the NBA. That’s a pretty cool ...

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