I don’t know Steve Nash. I mean, I know who he is. He plays for the Lakers. But I don’t know him beyond his public persona.
When I watched the first webisode of The Finish Line, however, I came to understand Steve Nash and his predicament much more fully, emotionally, and realistically.
The Lakers point guard came to Los Angeles the year before last, presumably to win an NBA championship ring before bringing to a close an incredible basketball career that has led, among other things, to his being knighted in his native Canada. But a funny thing happened on the way to the finals. Actually, two things happened, and neither was particularly funny. One was the collapse of the Lakers as a team, and the other was the collapse of Steve Nash’s body. He missed 32 games last season due to various injuries. This season, he has been sidelined even more than last season.
Earlier this month, Steve Nash turned 40. That’s an age at which many professionals find their stride and make their mark. For a professional athlete, however, it’s the age it ends.
Many have written and spoken of the Nash problem. He’s taking up space and resources that could be used to recruit younger players. And watching this video, which is under 10 minutes long, Nash is all too well aware of that.
What comes out in this masterfully produced, shot, and edited video posted on Grantland.com is something far different than I hear in locker-room interviews or post-game comments. It’s quieter, more candid, more thoughtful. It’s a whole difference in tone from what we ordinarily hear in sports and news coverage. In essence, The Finish Line isn’t about whether another multimillionaire athlete will make it to the championship, but an elegy on aging, on falling just short of the mark.
I can’t wait to see the second episode.