Steve Masiello ‘reprogrammed’ after résumé mess

Steve Masiello admits the adversity he’s faced since March has been humbling.

      
 

 

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With Steve Ballmer in Place, Clips Need Doc Rivers to Focus on Job He Does Best

Now that the dour cloud that was Donald Sterling has been lifted from the Los Angeles Clippers and replaced with Steve Ballmer, the comparative equivalent of stadium lights, there’s one element still missing to assure the 17th banner raised in the Staples Center belongs to them:   

A bona fide general manager.   

That’s not a knock on Doc Rivers, the resident coach, president of basketball operations and unofficial crisis counselor. Rivers distinguished himself holding the franchise together for several months while the league extricated The Donald. He has been, overall, a godsend for the franchise in a multitude of ways.

It’s a knock on the notion that a team can win it all with one man both coaching a team and constructing it, now more than ever. Look no further than Rivers needing to forfeit a first-round pick to move swingman Jared Dudley to Milwaukee, the same Dudley that was acquired just a year ago along with swingman J.J. Redick for the hefty price of highly-prized point guard Eric Bledsoe. Moving Dudley became necessary because Rivers also handed Matt Barnes–yet another swingman–the first multi-year contract of his career last summer, assuring someone would be unhappy.

For whatever reason, Rivers has received a full pass on moves that have made the Clippers marginally better yet significantly more expensive. You don’t have to make more than a call or two to find someone in the league who, as one GM said, views Rivers’ moves with Dudley as a “head scratcher.”

“If [former Minnesota GM] David Kahn made those deals, they’d have been burning crosses on his lawn,” said another NBA executive.

Several GMs said they would’ve put the brakes on all that for the sake of the long-term health of the team. One said he might have even traded Jamal Crawford in order to force Rivers to play first-round pick Reggie Bullock, who was a year-long afterthought (43 appearances, 395 minutes). In a sense, Rivers has spent two first-round picks to assure a few more victories last season, victories that still weren’t enough to get out of the second round.

“He’s always going to be a coach first,” said the executive of Rivers, “and a coach is always going to be making micro decisions. It’s all about the next five minutes.”

That thinking never has been more costly than it is now. The consensus among the league’s leading decision makers is that under the league’s increasingly constrictive salary-cap rules, the trick to chasing a title is maintaining as much flexibility as possible. There’s nothing wrong with going for broke in a particular year as long as the option to scale back down is on the immediate horizon.

That’s not where the Clippers are. They paid the luxury tax last year and they will do so again this season. Do that three out of four years and the amount of tax paid increases to at least $2.50 per every $1 over the threshold starting in the 2015-16 season.

There isn’t a tax that billionaire Ballmer can’t afford, but that isn’t the point. The penalty for being a taxpayer goes beyond a lighter wallet. It also erases the ways in which a team can land that one last piece that puts it over the top. Gone is the bi-annual exception or the ability to do sign-and-trade deals. Even the mid-level exception is reduced. So while Ballmer’s, uh, manic enthusiasm should be a welcome change from the gloom of Sterling’s Scrooge-like visage, it takes considerably more than Up With People! inspiration and throwing around bales of cash to build a champion.

“Having an unlimited budget isn’t necessarily healthy,” said one rival GM, “and it still doesn’t make it easy.”

A quick glance at the top NBA payrolls going into the season is proof that the Larry O’Brien trophy is made of, not by, gold. The six most expensive rosters belong, in order, to the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Clippers, New Orleans Hornets, Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers.

And while the Clippers have a relatively young core in Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, they’re going to need flexibility to restock their wings. Redick is in the second year of a four-year deal, but Barnes and Crawford could be up after this season. Whatever space their departures might provide undoubtedly will be used to tie up Jordan, a pending free agent whose $11 million salary is sure to jump. Rivers already had to spend yet more money this summer in an attempt to upgrade at back-up point guard (Jordan Farmar replacing Darren Collison) and back-up big man (Spencer Hawes replacing Ryan Hollins). Despite having the biggest payroll in the Western Conference, there’s no reason to believe they are capable of getting past the defending champion Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder or even the Golden State Warriors should they have a healthy Andrew Bogut.

Don’t blame the mismanaged roster and salaries on the influence or distraction of Sterling, either. He actually showed uncharacteristic largesse in his last few years to allow Rivers to make those moves and the discovery of his insulting view of African-Americans didn’t come until springtime.

If Ballmer has any reservations about Rivers’ personnel acumen, though, giving him an extension worth a reported $10 million a year on the heels of the Dudley deal is an odd way to show it. As of now, Rivers has placed Dave Wohl and Kevin Eastman, confidants from his days in Boston, alongside incumbent Gary Sacks to compose his front-office brain trust. Neither, however, has any experience in building rosters and it’s hard to imagine either of them having the wherewithal to tell Rivers he can’t do something.

Then again, perhaps in Ballmer World $10 million is simply the going rate for a coach who has worked the magic Rivers has with Paul, Griffin and Jordan. Despite the fact that sources say he was handpicked by Paul to succeed Vinny Del Negro, Rivers convinced Paul to give up the ball and allow more of the offense to run through Griffin, much to the team’s collective benefit. Jordan, meanwhile, evolved from a headache to a defensive backbone with Rivers’ encouragement.

“He’s coaching the hell out of their best players,” the GM said. “Doc has changed the mindset of that team. They’re playing for the right things. His greatest contribution has been creating an accountability to a style of play. You don’t see them pointing fingers.”

Perhaps Ballmer will take a more hands-on approach with roster decisions the way the Dallas Mavericks‘ Mark Cuban and other owners have in more recent times. He certainly shares their hoops passion: he apparently didn’t miss one of his son’s high school or AAU games and he considers himself a roundball junkie.

How that manifests itself with the Clippers, now that he’s abandoned his responsibilities with Microsoft, is what most interests other GMs and executives. For all of Sterling’s faults, he left the spotlight for his players and coach. Paul came to L.A. to stand in it and enjoy all the commercials and other accompanying opportunities; Griffin chose to stay in L.A. for the same reason.

“I don’t know that that group there wants the attention on the owner,” one GM said. “They have built something. They took center stage.”

That’s also where an independent GM and second voice of reason would help, since it’s hard to imagine Rivers coaching the team, making executive decisions and serving as a buffer between Ballmer and the players.

“It’ll be positive, no matter what,” said a Western Conference GM of Ballmer’s presence, “or at least it won’t be worse than with Sterling.”

But just how positive? How much better?  It’s hard not to look at how the battle for supremacy in New York has played out so far. The Nets’ Mikhail Prokhorov has tried to buy his way to a championship, and while it moved him past the Knicks last season, the Nets are not anywhere close to winning it all. Similarly, the Clippers should remain the toast of Hollywood over the Lakers this season, but Ballmer’s rallying cry was “I love Larry!” as in O’Brien, not “I love L.A.!”

If opposing GMs and executives are correct, it doesn’t matter that the Wheel of Fortune studio is a stone’s throw from Clippers’ headquarters—Ballmer can’t buy those last three letters. He’s going to have to think his way to getting L-A-R-R-Y. Or hire someone who can.

 

Ric Bucher covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @RicBucher.

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Manhattan’s Steve Masiello ‘reprogrammed’ after résumé mess

Steve Masiello admits the adversity he’s faced since March has been humbling.

      
 

 

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Will Steve Nash Be Los Angeles Lakers’ Biggest X-Factor in 2014-15?

Steve Nash still matters to the Los Angeles Lakers.

For the most part, this aging and fading 40-year-old star matters because of what he can’t do. He has played in only 65 games since 2012-13, including just 15 last season. The Nash Los Angeles thought it was getting in 2012 is gone, supplanted instead by this enfeebled, mortality-marred version of a point guard who can’t remain healthy enough to run pick-and-rolls, let alone triumph over Father Time.

And because of what Nash can’t do, he is but a number—9,701,000, to be exact. That’s what Nash will be earning next season ($9.7 million). That’s money the Lakers could have used to line their makeshift model with permanence. That’s what Nash, a future Hall of Famer and one-time logic-killer, has been reduced to: a cap-clogging, reputation-maiming number.

Only what if Nash matters because he becomes something more? What if there is some fight left in those timeworn legs and nerve-nuked back of his? 

What if Nash contributes to the Lakers’ 2014-15 campaign as a player—as an X-factor—and not as a mercifully expiring contract?

Months ago, when forcibly formed rumors left Nash to debunk imminent retirement, the thought seemed overly optimistic. After missing just 21 regular-season contests through the previous five seasons, Nash has been absent for 99 over the last two.

Returning from these tragic series of setbacks wasn’t possible. This regression would last. 

Slowly, surely, away from the typical spotlight, though, Nash has apparently steadied his course, strengthened his workload and positioned himself to play next season.

Said Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, via NBA.com: 

“All my conversations with (Nash) are that he has absolutely no neural issue at this point. He’s playing full-tilt, unrestricted soccer. He’s doing all the corrective injury and performance exercises he’s supposed to be doing, and right now he’s 100 percent healthy.”

To believe that “100 percent healthy” guarantees Nash’s return to prominence and dominance is to enable the absurd and weird. Forty-year-olds don’t make prolific contributions or embody durability.

Six players in NBA history have managed to appear in at least 50 single-season contests after their 40th birthday. Of those six, only three averaged 20-plus minutes per game. Nash is up against that, up against the undefeated time.

And yet it wasn’t long ago—two seasons, to be exact—that Nash was seemingly winning. He led the league in total assists for 2011-12 while flirting with another 50/40/90 season, missing only four games during a lockout-truncated crusade. That was also the year he piloted a top-10 offense and nearly pushed the talent-sapped Phoenix Suns into the playoffs.

Even 2012-13 saw glimpses of Nash being Nash. Appearing in only 50 games didn’t prevent him from falling less than half a percentage point short of his fifth 50/40/90 campaign. Only last year did he start showing signs of aging and see his shooting efficiency plummet, and he still managed to dish out nearly six assists a night.

When Nash plays—even during his failed stint in Los Angeles—he’s been mostly productive. All he has to do is take the court semi-consistently to have an actual chance at helping the Lakers. And, if healthy, he can help the Lakers.

Byron Scott will chirp about defense and the importance of accountability, but these Lakers, from top to bottom, are built to score.

Kobe Bryant, Carlos Boozer, Nick Young, Jeremy Lin and Julius Randle aren’t the material top-five, top-10 or even top-15 defenses are made of. The Lakers are going to rely heavily on their offense, hoping they boast enough firepower to surprise people.

Nash, and his lifetime 42.8 percent three-point clip, is firepower. Nash, and his penchant for double-digit assist totals, is playmaking depth. Nash, and his pick-and-roll intelligence, fits what the Lakers will try to do.

Pick-and-rolls are staples of Scott’s (admittedly simplistic) offensive systems. In Nash, the Lakers still have one of the best pick-and-roll point men ever. Not in recent memory, but ever.

Just once in the last five years has Nash ranked outside the top 50 of pick-and-roll ball-handling efficiency, according to Synergy Sports (subscription required). That was last year, when he still qualified for a top-60 finish.

Shooting hasn’t ever been an issue for him, either. Not even last season when his efficiency flushed itself down the toilet. Spot-up shooting remains his forte, and it can help the Lakers—they of little floor spacing—drastically.

All of which brings us back to availability. 

Ability isn’t, nor has it ever been, the issue. Nash still has some dimes and treys left in that 40-year-old body. We saw it last season. We saw it the season before last season.

Minutes are the enemy. Setting realistic expectations is the task. Scott can curb Nash’s playing time or sit him on back-to-backs all he wants, but it won’t mean his point guard isn’t at the mercy of unpredictable limbs.

To that we turn toward a higher power—one Bleacher Report’s David Murphy identifies as will: 

“Steve Nash will turn 41 in February and has delivered some of the game’s most memorable moments. The past two seasons won’t determine his ultimate legacy to the game. But he wants to leave more than a question mark behind in Los Angeles.”

Determined to make the most of his last season, Nash, if close to healthy, will be dangerous. He is the San Antonio Spurs of paling superstars. He has nothing left to prove, nothing left to lose, and that makes him dangerous.

“I think this is my last season,” Nash said during an interview with Sport TV in late July, via Jason Pratt of SB Nation. “But I still love to play, practice and work on my game.”

Actually play, and Nash stands to contribute, surprising even the most relentless critics, surprising even himself. He is Los Angeles’ biggest X-factor because he is their most marginalized unknown.

Bryant hasn’t been reduced to a number; Nash has.

Think of what the Lakers could be with a healthy Nash. Probably not a playoff team, but most definitely a watchable group that wins some games and turns some heads they shouldn’t. Nash can have that impact. He can transform the Lakers offensively, with or without Bryant.

For that, we cannot write him off. Not now.

There is no greater threat than a player who knows he has no tomorrow. This being Nash’s last chance to finish his storied career on a high note, he could be one of the Lakers’ most dangerous weapons, their biggest X-factor, if only because his production would represent contributions the team isn’t supposed to have.

 

*Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference and NBA.com unless otherwise noted.


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Can Steve Nash Erase Stigma of Last Two Seasons?

Steve Nash’s basketball world was just fine until he joined the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sure, he was getting older and wasn’t the player he had once been, but he still averaged a double-double during his last season with the Phoenix Suns.

But then came the summer of 2012 and the arrival of Nash and Dwight Howard in L.A., and the two became forever linked and identified by a doomed experiment.

When Mike D’Antoni was hired by the Lakers just five games into the season, it seemed as if some cosmic realignment was about to begin—Nash and his former coach would reunite and usher a post-centric team with stars like Howard, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol into a new Showtime era.

In a strange quirk of fate, however, Nash had fractured his leg during the second game of the regular season. It happened during a collision with Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and didn’t seem like such a big thing at the time.

As an upbeat D’Antoni said during his introductory press conference, per Lakers.com:

I can’t wait to get him (Nash) back there. I think he has another two or three years there. He didn’t have a whole lot of speed when he was in Phoenix and he hasn’t lost anything. But he’s smart, he’s smart and he can play. Nobody works harder than him. We just got to get his legs well and I think the people of Los Angeles will come to appreciate an unbelievable player.

But a series of unfortunate events had been set into motion and unbelievable playing did not take place.

The guy who had averaged 12.5 points in 31.6 minutes per game over 62 games the season before in Phoenix wound up averaging 12.7 points in 32.5 minutes over the course of 50 games in Los Angeles.

Hey, wait a minute—that didn’t happen! Actually, yes, it did.

Points and minutes averaged don’t tell the whole story, however. Nash had always succeeded by making those around him better, but in Los Angeles, his assists dropped to 6.7 per game compared to 10.7 the previous season.

The Lakers were clearly not playing in unison, and they were ultimately knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, losing in four straight games to the San Antonio Spurs.

By that point, a team packed with All-Stars was in shambles and the worst of it was Bryant’s ruptured Achilles tendon, suffered during game No. 80 of the regular season. 

Howard ultimately joined the Houston Rockets as a free agent, and the Lakers were left trying to sort through the broken pieces.

As for Nash, his fractured leg had never fully healed and triggered a slowly developing chain reaction of related structural issues. But more than anything, he had become part of a growing malaise that made it easy to associate his frailties with the failure of others—with Howard, with D’Antoni and with a rash of team injuries in general.

And when the following season ushered in an absolute and utter team collapse, it became even easier to point at Nash’s deteriorating body and the fact that he only played 15 games. Plus, what about that $9.7 million salary?

Two seasons became rolled into one giant unforgivable mistake—a future Hall of Famer had become a symbol for all that was wrong in Lakerland, and he even had the audacity to collect a paycheck!

But is it fair to stigmatize one player for the vagaries of age and injuries when the entire roster plus coaches and management share culpability for a 27-55 season? Doesn’t a guy who is arguably one of the best point guards to ever play the game deserve better than that?

At age 40, Nash is entering the final year of his contract and, in all likelihood, his last season of basketball. This isn’t how he wanted it to end. Not with a dark cloud as the closing refrain.

Is there a way to rewrite the ending? Yes, although it may not be an obvious hero moment. Nash—a two-time league MVP, five-time assists leader and eight-time All-Star—probably won’t capture that most important and elusive title—an NBA championship.

But redemption can show itself in different forms.

First, there is the matter of health. Nash is finally back to a state of physical well-being that has eluded him for nearly two years. Per NBA.com and team trainer Gary Vitti:

All my conversations with (Nash) are that he has absolutely no neural issue at this point. He’s playing full-tilt, unrestricted soccer. He’s doing all the corrective injury and performance exercises he’s supposed to be doing, and right now he’s 100 percent healthy.

If the 18-year veteran remains healthy and is able to play meaningful minutes, he’ll be doing so within a more measured, post-centric offense that will cater to Bryant—a member of the same draft class of 1996 and the only Laker to actually miss more games than Nash last season due to injury.

But regardless of playing time, there are other ways to leave an imprint. Like passing on all the tricks of the trade to Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson—two of the newest Lakers and members of a new generation of NBA players.

Lin spoke about learning from Nash during his introductory press conference, per Lakers.com; “Now I have this opportunity. I can’t wait. I still remember him in Phoenix and he was 20 and 10 every night. I look forward to learning quite a few things from him.”

Like playing off the most effective angles, mastering flawless footwork and the art of the perfect pass. The third all-time assists leader behind John Stockton and Jason Kidd, Nash has always had uncanny court vision and the ability to hit the open man, seemingly without even looking.

Nash is also a deadly shooter with a .428 career percentage from behind the arc as well as owner of the best all-time free-throw success rate at .904.

Steve Nash will turn 41 in February and has delivered some of the game’s most memorable moments. The past two seasons won’t determine his ultimate legacy to the game. But he wants to leave more than a question mark behind in Los Angeles.  

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Los Angeles Lakers Should Give Steve Nash’s Starting Job to Jeremy Lin

Back in 2012 when Jeremy Lin was blazing his path to notoriety, another point guard—arguably our generation’s most iconic—took notice.

“It’s amazing. He’s a great story,” said Steve Nash at the time, per Jared Zwerling (then writing for ESPNNewYork.com). “It’s a great story for the league. I think it’s phenomenal that it happened in the media capital of the world in a desperate team with a desperate fanbase. It’s just a beautiful thing to see somebody come out of nowhere to most people and shine the way he has.”

With Lin readying to debut his talents in another media mecca, it’s worth recalling Nash also mused that, “I think every team can use a point guard like him.”

Apparently the Los Angeles Lakers agreed.

Now Lin joins Nash in what should be a formidable floor-general platoon, at least if it remains at full health.

Now here comes the hard part.

While new Lakers head coach Byron Scott may be reluctant to separate the legendary Nash from his starting job, there’s a strong case that Lin deserves the nod this season. This isn’t about who deserves to start. Nor is it about managing egos. 

It’s about what’s best for the team.

Nash remains a one-of-a-kind leader regardless of where he’s situated in the rotation. Indeed, his presence could have a transformative effect on Lin himself—and Lin knows it, telling reporters, “I can’t wait. I remember when he was in Phoenix and was 20 and 10 every night. I can’t wait to learn from him.”

But wisdom and know-how aren’t reasons Nash should start.

Lakers Nation’s Ryan Ward wrote in July, “Moving forward, the consensus appears to be that Lin will be the starter with Nash likely set to come off the bench and rookie Jordan Clarkson being third on the depth chart.”

The reasons for such an approach are many.

At minimum, Los Angeles should keep a close watch on Nash’s minutes—perhaps even occasionally sitting the 40-year-old in back-to-back situations. Though that’s conceivably doable in the event Nash starts, there’s a risk Nash’s uneven availability could impact the starting lineup’s chemistry.

In the interest of building and sustaining rhythm, you’d like to see the Lakers deploy a consistent starting lineup as much as possible. With Nash’s playing time (and health) jeopardizing that, Lin becomes a more reliable starting option.

After a season in which he played just 15 games, it’s probably unwise to rest too many hopes on Nash.

There’s also a chance Lin could blossom in a way we haven’t seen since his New York days.

This is a fresh start for him, potentially a departure from a Houston Rockets experiment in which he started just 33 games during his second season with the team. While making the most of his new opportunity ultimately depends on Lin, the Lakers would do well to increase his confidence.

Lin is still young in basketball years.

Lin told Basketball Insider’s Alex Kennedy in July:

I definitely don’t think I’m close to my prime yet. I’m 25 years old and I think because of the way things have happened, people always think I’m older or I’ve been around longer than I really have. I’ve played two full seasons in the NBA – two full seasons and those 25 games in New York. I guess people have been very quick to write me off just because they saw how it started and then they saw what I was like in Houston, but I have to just keep reminding myself it’s a marathon.

Kennedy added, “As he continues to expand his game, he’ll have two Hall of Fame guards alongside him in the backcourt, which should do wonders for his development. Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant have been injured in recent years, but Lin is hoping to pick their brains and learn as much as he can from his legendary teammates.”

In short, there’s reason to believe that Lin can rise to the challenge a starting role presents.

After starting 82 games for the Rockets in 2012-13, Lin averaged a respectable 13.4 points and 6.1 assists per contest. It may not have lived up to the 20.9 points and 8.4 assists he tallied with New York in February 2012, but it demonstrated that Lin can produce on a full-time basis.

Under the right tutelage—something he lacked in Houston—that full-time production could improve.

There’s also something to be said for what Nash could do with the second unit.

The Lakers already have one ball-dominating playmaker in the starting lineup. Rather than asking Nash to compete with Bryant for touches, why not make him orchestrator-in-chief of the bench? It would ensure the veteran more touches, and it just might translate into better performances from other reserves.

Nash has a way of bringing out the best in his teammates. Perhaps he’d have a force-multiplying effect on L.A.’s depth, making the most of guys like rookie Julius Randle and potential sixth man Nick Young.

Moving Nash to the bench could very well be a win-win scenario for him and Lin alike.

Some aren’t especially high on Los Angeles’ resources at the point guard spot. 

CBSSports.com’s Matt Moore recently wrote, “At point guard you’ve got an inconsistent player who’s had minor but considerable injury issues the past two seasons in Lin, Nash who is barely able to get on the floor, and a second-round pick [Jordan Clarkson] who’s probably more of a shooting guard.”

After a 27-55 2013-14 campaign in which all that could go wrong did, the pessimism is understandable. General manager Mitch Kupchak improved the roster to the best of his ability, and recovery from injuries will make a significant difference.

But things could go south. Fast.

Lin registers as one of the principal reasons to hope otherwise. His pedigree doesn’t rival Nash or Bryant’s but the Lakers’ fortunes are no less dependent on his contributions this season.

Contributions he could very well make as a starter.

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Manhattan’s Steve Masiello ‘reprogrammed’ after false résumé mess

Steve Masiello admits the adversity he’s faced since March has been humbling.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NCAA Top Stories

Manhattan’s Steve Masiello ‘reprogrammed’ after résumé mess last season

Steve Masiello admits the adversity he’s faced since March has been humbling.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NCAA Top Stories

Steve Nash Describes Kobe as a “Motherf*cking A**hole”

I think everyone would agree with this assessment even Kobe Bryant. SI’s Chris Ballard did a long feature on Kobe and how he is coming to the end of this career. A documentary about Kobe was being filmed at the time and part of that was asking teammates and opponents what they thought of Kobe and Nash went the 100% honest route.
During filming, Chopra interviewed a number of Bryant’s teammates, current and former, and he asked them to describe Bryant in three words. After each interview Kobe would text Chopra, eager to hear what people said. Most answered with some variation of “the ultimate competitor” or “killer instinct.” But when Chopra asked Steve Nash, he said something different. After thinking for a moment, Nash answered, slowly, in three beats: “Mother .?.?. f—— .?.?. a——.”
Kobe thought this was awesome.
Of course, Kobe thought it was awesome. Love him or hate him, his greatest gift and curse is his obsessive nature toward winning.
Haters and stans are going to miss him when h

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Steve Nash Described Kobe Bryant in 3 Very NSFW Words, Black Mamba Approved

Many people have nothing but flattering things to say about Kobe Bryant, but Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash had some pretty strong words to describe his teammate. And the Black Mamba loved every bit of it.

This week’s issue of Sports Illustrated featured a very in-depth piece on Bryant by Chris Ballard. The article touched on quite a few things, but nothing stood out more than a story about how Nash described the Black Mamba to Gotham Chopra, the director of Bryant’s upcoming Showtime documentary.

During filming, Chopra interviewed a number of Bryant’s teammates, current and former, and he asked them to describe Bryant in three words. After each interview Kobe would text Chopra, eager to hear what people said. Most answered with some variation of ‘the ultimate competitor’ or ‘killer instinct.’ But when Chopra asked Steve Nash, he said something different. After thinking for a moment, Nash answered, slowly, in three beats: ‘Mother . . . f—— . . . a——.’

Those are some, um, interesting ways to describe a teammate. Words like that may offend some people, but not Bryant.

“Kobe thought this was awesome.”

That probably surprises nobody.

People around the league always say how intense Bryant is, even in practice. He may not always get along with everyone, but that’s only because he has a strong desire to win. Although that kind of personality may not make him the most likable person, it’s not a bad way to approach a career.

Rather than be politically correct with his answer, Nash was open and honest. His honesty just happened to create an awesome quote.

[h/t Yahoo Finance/Business Insider]

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