Steve Nash reflects on career: “My story is something that kids can learn from”

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Steve Nash stood in front of media members Tuesday, talked about his decision to retire, and looked back on a career that has him destined for the Hall of Fame.

One that from the start was maybe the most improbable of the MVP, Hall-of-Fame, franchise cornerstone careers in all of the NBA. Nash sees that as an inspiration, as reported by David Leon Moore of the USA Today.

“That’s what makes my story interesting,” Nash said. “I had one scholarship offer. I was never a sure thing. I had to overcome a lot to get to the level I got to. There were a lot of ingredients, but the key ingredient was hard work. My story is something that kids can learn from and relate to. It feels good to be able leave that behind as my story.”

Nash spoke of his story in the way a guy looking to get into film should speak of narrative, with reverence. Nash’s story is that of a guy born in South Africa, raised in Canada, and who on the surface lacks the physical tools it would take to be an NBA superstar. He’s not tall or long, nor can he leap out of the building.

But Nash worked as long and hard on his game and his body as anyone in the league (something seemingly lost on a few Lakers fans in recent years). He genuinely loved the game. With Don Nelson and the Mavericks, we saw one of the best offenses ever when Nash was paired with Dirk Nowitzki.

Then with Mike D’Antoni and Amar’e Stoudemire in Phoenix, they revolutionized the game. Their tempo, their free-flowing offense heavy on pick-and-rolls with shooters spacing the floor has been copied by every smart coach, smart team in the NBA for the last decade. The last three titles — two in Miami, one in San Antonio — went to coaches who admitted borrowing from those Suns teams.

Nash said the words that have flowed in from peers since his announcement have meant a lot.

Of course, Nash has had to come to terms with never having won a ring.

“For sure, there’s a lot of disappointment not to win a championship,” Nash said. “At the same time, I definitely left it all out there. There have been a number of players with tremendous careers who haven’t won titles. They probably feel similar. They wish they could have taken a title, but that final step wasn’t to be. I played on some great teams and had a lot of success. I just wasn’t able to get over the hump a few times.”

Nash battled back issues through the second half of his career, and nobody worked harder than him to stay on the court. That included his last three years in Los Angeles, but the nerve issue from a broken leg never could get right and kept him off the court for the Lakers for most of that time.

Some Lakers fans ripped him for that, although not the thinking ones. And not the ones he spoke to.

“There’s a lot of negativity on line, but I’ve never had anybody in L.A. say a negative thing to me in person,” he said. “A Lot of people here have shown a lot of class and been incredibly gracious, and that starts with the Lakers organization. I was treated incredibly in my time here, and I will be forever grateful for that. Sometimes the Internet becomes our reality until you realize that that’s not at all how it is in flesh and blood.”

Nash was nothing but classy as a Laker, as he was throughout his career. If there were a Hall of Fame for the good guys in sport, he’d be a shoe-in.

As it is, he’s a shoe-in for the other Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

And he will go down as one of the great, unlikely superstars in NBA history.

Luka Doncic with 42-point triple-double, sticks dagger in Spurs for Mavericks win

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Luka Doncic is having a “we’ve got to talk about this guy as a possible MVP” kind of season so far.

The latest addition to the resume: A 42 point, 11 rebounds, 12 assist triple-double to lead the Mavericks past the Spurs. That includes sticking the dagger in the Spurs late.

Dallas won 117-110 and improves to 8-5 on the season.

The 42 points is a career-high for Doncic, and he is the first player in Dallas history to record a 40-point triple-double. This is Doncic’s sixth triple-double of the season.

And he’s still just 20 years old.

Here’s the full list of NBA players who have had 40-point triple-doubles at the age of 20 or younger:

LeBron James
Luka Doncic

That’s it — and that’s some impressive company for Doncic.

Kings’ Buddy Hield fined $25,000 for kicking ball into stands in celebration

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This was a $25,000 celebration by Buddy Hield.

Sacramento led by one in the final seconds against Boston Sunday, but the Celtics had a final shot and Marcus Smart‘s attempt at a game-winning floater hung on the rim seemingly forever… then fell off. The ball was tipped out to mid-court and — as you can see in this video — Heild kicks the ball into the stands as part of the celebration.

Kicking or throwing the ball into the stands is a standing $25,000 fine, and the league came down with that on Hield on Monday. It was not a surprise.

Hield was the reason Sacramento won the game, scoring 35 points to lead the Kings, including going 7-of-12 from three. He’d likely make that trade for the win again.

Kawhi Leonard out vs. Thunder Monday night, third straight game due to knee bruise

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This isn’t load management. This is a bruised knee.

The first Clipper game with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George sharing the court will have to wait as Leonard is going to miss his third straight game with a knee contusion Monday night against the Thunder. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN broke the news.

The Clippers are going to be cautious with bringing Leonard back from this, thinking long term with his health, as they should. Los Angeles is playing for games in May and June, not games in November.

This means tonight the Clippers will be the Paul George show again — in two games he has scored 70 points in 44 minutes. This will be George’s first game against the Thunder since he demanded a trade out of the city last summer, landing him on the Clippers with Leonard.

Kevin Love tries to ignore trade rumors, ‘let the chips fall where they may’

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Cleveland Cavaliers GM said he has no interest in trading Kevin Love.

You can count the number of people around the league who believe him on one hand. There’s a good chance Love is still on the Cavaliers at the end of this season, but that’s more about him being in the first year of a four-year, $120 million contract extension than it is Cleveland’s willingness to trade him (or interest from other teams, if money was not an issue). The Cavaliers are rebuilding, and if they can get young players and picks for Love, they have to consider it.

With Portland off to a slow start, and Love growing up in the Pacific Northwest, that rumor has floated around. There are others. Love is just trying to ignore them and play ball, he told Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times.

“I know there’s talk about me possibly being the missing piece somewhere,” Love said. “There’s been constant chatter since I signed that I could be traded. It’s one of those things where I’m going to keep doing right by the team, by Cleveland and by the organization. If my number is called, so be it, but I’m going to stay true to my commitment and let the chips fall where they may.”

Love, who has been open in recent years about his struggles with anxiety and mental health, said dealing with the trade rumors that constantly swirl around him can be a challenge on that front.

“A big aspect of mental health is just staying in the present but it’s so hard,” he said. “You have to try to not get too far ahead of yourself or get worked up. You can get that anxious feeling or fear for the future, but you have to try to stay focused on getting better and let things work out the way they should.”

Kevin Love has played well to start the season, averaging 18.3 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, shooting a respectable 34.7 percent from three. He could help a lot of teams, particularly ones in the West who want to be in the mix for a ring but who look at the Lakers and Clippers and think, “we have to get better fast.”

The rumors around Love are just going to get louder the closer and closer we get to the trade deadline. Love will have to do a lot of work to tune all that out.