Considering how this season has unfolded for the Dinos, it would be no surprise if the game marked the return of superstar Kobe Bryant, who hasn't played a minute since tearing his Achilles Tendon late last season.
Unfortunately even if Bryant does return, the Lakers will still have one notable absence, Captain Canada himself, Steve Nash. Nash has been sidelined for the bulk of this early season thanks to persisting nerve pain in his back, left hamstring and surgically repaired left leg, and while he's practicing again, there's no clear timetable for his return.
It's a tough situation and questions regarding Nash's NBA future now float around the former two-time MVP. At one point it looked like Nash would continue to age like fine wine, or at least like Tim Duncan, before riding off into the sunset. Now though, that's not so certain. When Nash spurned the advances of Bryan Colangelo and the Toronto Raptors less than two years ago in order to team up with Bryant, the Lakers looked to be a lock for championship contention but...
...well...we all know how that turned out.
If Nash does retire due to his body's recent Cronenbergian manifestations, in some ways, it would be a fitting end to what's been a bizarre ride with the Lakers, although certainly not the storybook ending to what's been one of the more unlikely "rags to riches" stories in sports history, one chronicled in exceptional detail by Michael Grange and David Feschuk in their new book, "Steve Nash: The Unlikely Ascent of a Superstar."
I recently had the opportunity to read said book thanks to Josh Glover and the folks at Random House Canada, who published it, and I quickly found myself completely submerged in the tale. Most NBA fans, especially Canadian ones, know about Steve Nash, and know about his fabled rise from unknown point guard drafted out of Santa Clara, to NBA MVP. They know about his time in Dallas with Dirk Nowitzki, and Phoenix, where he was the conductor of the Suns' vaunted "7 Seconds or Less" offence.
But what most don't know is the "everything in between," and Feschuk and Grange do an impecable job taking the reader on a journey from Nash's days practicing at the McKinnon Gym in Victoria, to his current tenure with the Lake Show. (In fact one of the more interesting pieces of the book is a look at not just Nash, but the gold mine of athletic talent that originated from the McKinnon Gym sports hub.) The book chronicles Nash the basketball player, but also Nash the businessman, the philanthropist, and the various other facets that make him such a compelling individual.
If you don't have the book on your Christmas list, get it on there or better yet..win it via our Steve Nash Book Contest!
Thanks to Random House Canada we have five copies to give away to five lucky readers who correctly answer the following question:
"Name three players who were sent to Phoenix by the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Nash when he was traded in June 1998."
Submit your answers to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and this Sunday, December 8 at halftime of the Lakers/Raptors' game, we'll draw five winners!