That is fantastic work. By Grantland and by the filmmaking companies.
More importantly, it doesn’t work if Steve Nash doesn’t open up about coming to the end of his career and his fight to get back on the court.
We often try to paint professional athletes as two dimensional figures, guys who are there to entertain us and win us our fantasy leagues. This brings you a real, gritty, three dimensional Steve Nash as he winds down his career — not a whitewashing tribute, but the reality of how his (and other) careers end.
Most professional athletes can have a brutal honesty about themselves and those around them, something not always expressed publicly. Most are aware of their limitations, what others do better than them, what they do that works in the game (whether it be the NBA or NHL or NFL) — Steve Nash lets you in to see that honesty at work. That he knows he’s not the same player, that his mobility has changed. That he sees the darkness creeping in on his career and that he wants to rage, rage against the dying of the light. That he wants one more good run at it.
We also get a peek at the kind of work he has done to return from the nerve root problem that has essentially stymied his Lakers’ years. What he thought he was walking into 20 months ago and the reality of the team now are radically different, and as a competitor he wants to change that tide. His body just betrays him, it will not let him.
I normally like to say “if you read one thing today make it this,” but today I’d say if you watch on thing today, make it this Steve Nash piece from Grantland.
Pistons star Blake Griffin learned his lesson after getting his dunk blocked by Nets center Jarrett Allen in the preseason. In the regular-season opener, Griffin went up even harder.
And Allen still stopped him!
Rumors about Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors are intensifying. Even people within the Golden State organization are bracing themselves for him to depart in free agency next summer.
Not even the Warriors collecting their championship rings could stop the momentum.
In fact, last night’s celebration contributed to the noise.
Kevin’s brother, Tony, commented on Kevin’s Instagram post featuring the rings, “Filling the hand up before we get outta here!”
Rob Perez of The Action Network:
My best guess was “here” meant the Warriors’ arena in Oakland. This is their last season there before moving to a new arena in San Francisco Francisco.
Or maybe “here” meant in the NBA. Careers in the NBA are finite.
Another thought that crossed my mind: “Here” could have meant in this world. Lives, too, are finite.
The only clear part: Tony wants Kevin to win a handful of rings. The deadline is nebulous.
Of course, the loudest speculation was “here” meant playing for the Warriors and this being the last run. But Tony sharply denied that.
If you want to be a conspiracy theorist, perhaps Tony meant leaving Golden State after this season but Kevin just instructed him to downplay it to quiet chatter. I suppose that’s possible, though it wouldn’t jibe with Kevin’s tell-the-truth-about-free-agency approach.
Occam’s Razor suggests taking Tony at his word, and that’s what I’ll do.
After sitting out while
awaiting a trade rehabbing after injuring his wrist, Jimmy Butler practiced with the Timberwolves for the first time last week. He reportedly showed up late, talked a ton of trash and led third-stringers to a win over the starters then left early.
Amidst widespread speculation they had to trade Butler after that, the Tom Thibodeau-run Timberwolves put out word they considered it their best practice of the year.
Maybe Thibodeau is that insanely competitive. Maybe he was just trying to preserve leverage.
If it were the latter, he sure stuck to his story.
Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:
Teams who talked to Minnesota after his first practice, literally the day after his practice, Minnesota was asking for more then than they were before the day. Which tells you this: Minnesota is not trading him. They’re asking for packages that know teams aren’t going to agree to.
The Timberwolves are in a though spot. Butler is an excellent player, but everyone knows he wants out. I don’t blame them for trying to maximize their limited leverage.
How will Butler react to this revelation, though? Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said he told Butler the team would seek a trade. Butler pledged to play hard in the meantime.
But if Butler playing hard just makes it less likely Minnesota will trade him, will he feel as if the team isn’t holding up its end of the bargain? Then what?
It has long seemed Taylor and Thibodeau are on different pages on several issues. Though Taylor just backed Thibodeau, Butler could drive a wedge even deeper between the owner and president-coach.
NBA’s opening night was quite tame. The Celtics and Warriors won as expected, neither the 76ers nor Thunder mounting much of a challenge.
That allowed Russell Westbrook — out with an injury — to have the most fun moment when he looked around deviously, turned to his side and ate something.
What did did Westbrook eat? Was he not supposed to be eating? Did he not want to share? Big questions remain unanswered surrounding this important incident.