L.A. Lakers: How Will Steve Nash's Presence Affect Kobe Bryant's Legacy?

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJuly 5, 2012

LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 12:  Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers lines up next to Steve Nash #13 of the Dallas Mavericks during the game at Staples Center on December 12, 2003 in Los Angeles, California.  The Mavericks won 110-93.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

It's pretty safe to say that fans of the Los Angeles Lakers are pretty excited about the recent trade that brings point guard Steve Nash to Hollywood. But a large percentage of those fans are just as ecstatic about what Nash's presence could mean to Kobe Bryant's yet unfinished NBA legacy.

Kobe has never told me how much winning a sixth ring would mean to him, but I can discern from his attitude, demeanor and body language that NBA titles are all that really matters now.

After capturing your fifth ring, two consecutive years of being eliminated in the second round of the postseason can do that to you.

And Nash represents Kobe's best chance to equal Michael Jordan in the only historical category that should really matter to true basketball fans.

With Nash, the Lakers instantly re-enter the championship discussion, but that doesn't mean they will dominate the conversation.

Make no mistake, Nash does give the Lakers more than a fighting chance to reclaim their spot atop the Western Conference and the NBA, but by no means are they the favorites.

That designation still belongs to the youthful, talented and certainly more athletic Oklahoma City Thunder.

Still, it's hard to imagine Nash disappearing for an entire series the way that Ramon Sessions did, and who better to rein in Bryant than a player who has built his entire career around making others better?

My first thought after the Nash deal was that Kobe will lead the league in scoring in 2012-13 and that he will shoot a lot better than last year's 43 percent from the field.

That number is one of the worst of Kobe's career, but it's pretty hard to shoot for that low of a percentage when playing beside a point guard who specializes in finding his teammates' best spots on the floor.

One of the biggest questions surrounding Nash's arrival in Los Angeles, however, is how can Kobe and Nash coexist when both are most effective when dominating the ball?

It is a valid question, but you have to understand that Nash's version of "dominate" is spelled with a lower-case "d."

Nash does dominate the ball, but it's with the purpose of finding his teammates in the best position to score.

When Kobe "Dominates" the ball, it's usually with about 10 seconds left on the shot clock with his teammates standing around to see if their susperstar can yet again bail them out with the shot clock winding down. There won't be much standing around with Nash at the helm.

Evoking Nash's name suggests perpetual motion, and while Kobe will definitely benefit from playing with someone who has endured more wars than him, can you imagine what Nash could do for Andrew Bynum?

Nash turned Marcin Gortat into a top-five conference center, so think about what he could do for the conference's best center.

But I digress.

Nash's presence will reverberate on numerous levels once he becomes acclimated to coach Mike Brown's schemes, but his impact on Kobe's legacy has already manifested itself.

Nash called Kobe to get his input about the possible move, ESPN.com reports, and Bryant got excited describing how their marriage could work.

Kobe's eagerness to embrace Nash proves he understands that his championship window is closing, and it also shows that Bryant understands that Nash gives him the best chance to add another notch to his impressive legacy.