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Steve Nash comments on his relationship with late Kobe Bryant

Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns laughs with Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at the Staples Center on December, 10 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

TNT’s Inside the NBA had one of the best hours of television you’ll see this year, holding an honest and heartbreaking discussion on the shocking passing of 41-year-old Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant on Sunday in a helicopter crash, along with eight others.

With the usual studio crew speaking on the floor of the Staples Center, the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson said their pieces Tuesday on Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, who also passed away in the crash.

Special guests Jerry West and Reggie Miller also said some words before the game set to tip off at 6 p.m., with the latter game on the slate originally being between the Lakers and Clippers that was later postponed by the NBA.

At halftime between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, the crew returned for halftime to speak more on Bryant.

That included the additions of Steve Nash and Candace Parker.

Nash spoke on the relationship he had competing against Bryant in the Western Conference and as teammates too.

“If I look back and remember Kobe, I’m going to think about the competition,” Nash said. “That was special for me and my career to face the ultimate competitor, one of the greatest players to ever play the game. We go way back, we were in the same draft class.

“He was 18 straight out of high school, I was a graduate of Santa Clara — we could not have been more different. He’s the brashest, most electrifying 18-year-old I’ve ever seen in my life and I was nervous, insecure, anxious trying to make a name for myself.

“And the story goes, we played our whole careers in the West, we played each other three times in the playoffs, had some epic battles, weren’t always friends, were lucky to be teammates, probably hated each other at times, but through it all had a tremendous amount of respect for each other.”

Nash said that after the 2006 NBA Playoffs in which Nash’s Phoenix Suns eliminated Bryant’s Lakers, Kobe asked Nash for advice on how to trust his teammates.

After the conversation, Nash said he thought there might have been some mind games played by Kobe in that question, a testament to the competitor Bryant was.

“Was he Jedi mind-tricking me or was he telling me, ‘Just so we’re clear on the ledger, you had a better team,'” Nash said.

“I love this about Kobe Bryant.”


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