Steve Nash accomplished one of his most impressive individual feats while in the midst of one of the most frustrating stretches of his 17-year career.
Nash became just the 5th player in NBA history to reach 10,000 career assists, reaching the milestone late in the first half of the L.A Lakers’ 125-112 loss to the Houston Rockets.
“If I am taking a step back, it’s another example of a fairy-tale career, but it’s very tough to enjoy it right now,” Nash said after the Lakers’ 4th straight loss, which dropped their overall record to 15-19.
“I don’t really want to discredit it; I do not want to not appreciate the company I share in this milestone. But at this time, that’s the farthest thing from my mind. I’m just trying to find a way to win one game.”
The 38-year-old Nash also admitted he has seriously considered the possibility that the Lakers, in spite of all their preseason hype and championship hopes, might not even make the playoffs this season.
“That motivates me each day,” Nash claimed. “There’s no guarantee [that the Lakers make the playoffs]. I believe 3 or 4 weeks ago, people would have said, ‘Ah, it will get better.’ Now I really don’t think there’s a guarantee it will, so the only remedy is continue to work diligently and give yourself a chance for it to get better.
“I clearly think with time, and that could mean through the summer, we can get better. But for this season, it’s so going to be a challenge to turn this around. … We received a number of things we got to try and improve on to get better, but one thing that we will not accept is to take our foot off the gas and accept things. We got to continue to fight.”
Kobe Bryant, who entered the NBA in the same 1996 draft class as Nash, can commiserate.
“We were walking around at shootaround, and we just kind of looked at each other, and I said to him, ‘We thought it was going to be easier this year for once,’” Bryant said with a laugh.
Bryant refused to give in to the circumstances, however.
“[Nash] is a little more reasonable than I am,” Bryant claimed. “That’s how we kind of bounce off of one another. I’m as stubborn as a mule. I’m going to keep driving this thing forward and so is he, but he tends to have more perspective than I do.”
Bryant, who last month became just the 5th player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points, took time to think about Nash’s achievement regardless of the Lakers’ predicament.
“That’s incredible,” Bryant said. “You should kind of step back and have a look at the big picture of what he’s done. What, 5 players have done that? That is amazing to come where he’s come to and from be in a position to accomplish that. You can’t lose sight with what that number means.” Baseball scores
Nash joined John Stockton (15,806), the New York Knicks’ Jason Kidd (11,969 and counting), Mark Jackson (10,334) and Magic Johnson (10,141) in the exclusive club.