We should have seen Kobe/Nash coming

July, 5, 2012
7/05/12
9:03
AM ET
Few viewed Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers as major threats in the Steve Nash running, but here we are.

And perhaps we should have seen it coming.

Sure, they've had their differences over the years. The Lakers and Nash's Phoenix Suns also met a couple of contentious times in the playoffs.

But if we track the visual evidence -- a small sample of evidence, but evidence nonetheless -- we can see two chummy members of the draft Class of 1996, perhaps plotting to one day appear in NBA jerseys alongside each other in more than just this photo.

Steve Nash and Kobe BryantAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesKobe & Nash circa 2003, when the latter played for the Mavericks. The start of negotiations?
Steve Nash and Kobe BryantDavid Sherman/NBAE/Getty ImagesKobe & Nash getting close at the 2006 All-Star game -- and it was far from their first game together.
Steve Nash and Kobe BryantNathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesFar from their last, either; this is 2008 in which they're exchanging a teammate-like greeting.
Steve Nash and Kobe BryantHarry How/Getty ImagesCome on -- you don't think the two of these guys are plotting something here in 2008?
Steve Nash and Kobe BryantNoah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images... or in 2009?
Steve Nash and Kobe BryantBarry Gossage/NBAE/Getty ImagesAnd here they are in Oct. 2010, just months after the Suns' loss in the Western Conference Finals. That was the last time Phoenix made the playoffs. Lakers? They might get there a time or two more.
Patrick Dorsey is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor for ESPN.com. He has worked for the Web and newspapers. He also played in one Division-III golf tournament (he shot 105).

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