Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash’s 19th season in the NBA ended before it started.

Kobe Bryant says Nash did everything possible to get back on the court, but that it wasn’t meant to be. The Lakers hope he can be a mentor to his young teammates.

LeBron James was also saddened by the news, and says he’d love to have played alongside Steve Nash in his prime.

Per the OC Register and NOMG

“He struggled with his back even when he was in his prime,” Kobe Bryant said. “I really don’t think it’s an age thing, I think it’s an injury thing. He’s had to deal with it his entire career, and it’s just caught up to him now.” […] “He did everything possible to get back to playing at a high level,” Bryant said, “so from that standpoint he should be able to sleep at night. I know I would. … If I couldn’t get back to being at that level then you just have to accept it. But you have to know that when you put your head down at night that you did everything possible.”

 

“It’s tough,” James said. “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.”

 

“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.”