LeBron James on Steve Nash: “I wish I could have been a teammate of his”

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Thursday’s news that Steve Nash will miss the entire 2014-15 season due to his repeated back injuries likely means that his career is over. He hasn’t announced his retirement yet, but it’s hard to see him coming back from this at age 40. People all over the NBA community have sung Nash’s praises since the news broke, with former teammates reminiscing on playing with him and younger players talking about how much they looked up to him. Now, LeBron James has given his thoughts on Nash, saying he wishes he had gotten the chance to play with the two-time MVP.

From Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“His run in Phoenix was unbelievable, man,” said James. “The way he played the game of basketball, I wish I could have been a teammate of his for a year or two. Being around a guy like that who is just all about team. He never asked for anything and everything was given to him. You can respect somebody like that.”

Nash and James have a lot in common, despite being very different players. James is one of the most unselfish superstars of his generation, and often played point guard on his Cavaliers and Heat teams, bringing the ball up the floor and making plays for others. A team with two playmakers of that caliber, especially combining Nash’s shooting ability with James’ strength and ability to finish at the rim, would have been unstoppable.

James also offered perspective on Nash’s career and his struggles with injuries since signing with the Lakers in 2012:

“It’s tough,” James said when Northeast Ohio Media Group asked for his thoughts on Nash. “You hate to see anyone have the game taken away because of an injury and especially a talent like that. Obviously he’s worked his tail off to try to be healthy and play for the franchise. Over his career, he’s always kept his body in shape. We all knew that, and for his body to fail him at a time where he feels he still has something to give to the game, it sucks.

“At the same time, he has nothing to be ashamed of. He should be proud of every moment he had in this league. From him waiting behind, sitting on the bench behind J-Kidd [in Dallas] to finally getting his opportunity in Dallas and going back to Phoenix and having an unbelievable career with two MVPs and doing the things that he did.”

The loss of Nash is a tough one for basketball fans everywhere, even if it was more inevitable than surprising. He was one of the most exciting players of the last two decades, one of the greatest point guards in the history of the game, and a mortal lock first-ballot Hall of Famer.