This morning, Bill Simmons & Grantland released episode 4 of the “The Finish Line”, documenting the up and down season for Steve Nash in Los Angeles, and his battle to get back on the court.
It’s a fascinating video that really shows how Nash is dealing with decisions from back in the day, and the fact that his career is coming to a close. It’s layered with questions about what could have happened with Dallas had Nash resigned back in 2004. Dirk mentioned how the Western Conference wasn’t all that great after Nash left, and that there was a window of opportunity there that we will all just never know.
It was an honest conversation between two longtime friends – one from Canada and the other from Wurzburg, Germany. On the court, they were a lethal duo who entertained the Dallas Metroplex on a night to night basis, but many believe it was ended to short.
As they talked about the battles between the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks, Nash even points out that it was a “rough time” for him when the Mavericks prevailed over his Suns in the 2006 Western Conference Finals, and he wasn’t even really pushing for Nowitzki in the Finals that season. He does mention right after that once the Mavericks got back to the 2011 NBA Finals and won it, it was fun for him to watch Nowitzki back in the big dance and finally get that trophy.
“I almost feel like I wasn’t cheering for you. Instead, I was kind of like ‘I don’t care’” - Steve Nash on Nowitzki reaching NBA Finals in 2006
“It was fun for me to root for you. It felt great to see you get back there and to have me rooting for you.” - Steve Nash on Nowitzki returning to NBA Finals in 2001 and winning
But what really could have been?
The real important thing to remember here is the Mavericks had a whole different Steve Nash than the one the Suns received. Phoenix had a guy in Amar’e Stoudemire who was amazing on the pick and roll and finishing with his athleticism. He provided Nash a real true inside power, whereas Dirk at the time, was really just a shooter. Many feel that they were only just growing at that point, but as Dirk mentioned in the video, it really allowed the two of them to develop on their own, which is something that maybe never would have materialized had they remained together.
“I’m not sure, but it would have been a hell of a time” - Dirk Nowitzki on what would have happened if Nash stayed in Dallas.
At the conclusion of the dinner, Nash asks Nowitzki what he would do if he was in his position at 40 years old, and if he would come back.
“With what you are going through with all the treatments, I’m not sure I could do it” - Dirk Nowitzki
Two things are for sure. The NBA is going to miss these two superstars when they ride off into the sunset and they have developed a bond that will last a lifetime.
Photo Credit: G.J. McCarthy