In the revealing first episode of The Finish Line, a documentary series produced jointly by Nash's Meathawk Productions and Grantland.com, the 40-year-old point guard speaks candidly about the difficulties of fighting back the nerve issues that have cost him most of the past two seasons.
"One of the hardest things about this whole thing is this feeling I’m stuck in no man’s land," Nash said.
From the very first frame, Nash's vulnerability and doubt—things most professional athletes either lack or never reveal publicly—are obvious.
Since returning on Feb. 4 from a season-long battle with injury, Nash has looked good in spurts. But he aggravated the situation in an abbreviated 17-minute stint against the Utah Jazz on Feb. 11.
And as Nash notes in the film:
"It’s painful to go through the same thing every day and wait and wait and hope that the work you’re doing, the rehabilitation you’re doing is going to come through and you’re going to get back out there. But I don’t know if I’m going to get better.”
The NBA veteran is unfiltered throughout the film, giving viewers a glimpse of every aspect of his attempted recovery. He labors through balancing drills, receives various uncomfortable spine alignments and even winces through a series of injections.
There's also a Baron Davis sighting, so not everything about The Finish Line is a complete bummer.
But the overall tone is unmistakably somber, and Nash closes the episode with a haunting, brutally honest quote:
"Every athlete, when they lose their skill, they lose a big part of themselves, a part that they’ve built their life around, that has been a huge part of their purpose, their self esteem, identity. So when the skill, or ability goes, it’s like there’s been a death. So on the one hand, I’m lucky I’ve gotten the better part of 18 years of it. On the other hand, it’ll never be the same again.”
Nash is committed to waging one last battle for NBA survival. He's just not sure if he can win it.
(h/t Grantland.com for the video)