Steve Nash raised some eyebrows last week when reports began to circulate that he'd be "trying out" for legendary Italian soccer club Inter Milan on Tuesday in an opportunity that the lifelong soccer lover and part-owner of MLS' Vancouver Whitecaps called "a dream come true." As Nash told NBA.com's Lang Whitaker, though — and as you probably suspected, given the fact that Nash is both A) quite gainfully employed as the starting point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers and B) 39 years old — the Tuesday session was really a tryout in name only:
[LANG]: So run this down for me: You’re trying out for Inter Milan today?
NASH: (laughs) Sort of, yeah. I think that’s the way it’s being labeled, but it’s more of an honorary tryout, more like I’m going to go practice with them. But yeah, I’m looking forward to it.
It's probably for the best that it was "more of an honorary tryout," considering Nash told Whitaker that he's "not quite 100 percent," "can’t quite sprint" and aims to be back to NBA-level health "hopefully in the next three or four weeks." We're sure the Buss family, Mitch Kupchak, Mike D'Antoni and everyone else with a vested interest in Nash's rehabilitation and recovery appreciates the Nerazzurri taking it easy on the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player.
After being put through a series of drills focusing on change of direction, one-on-one situations and attacking movements as a team, Inter rounded off their second workout in New Jersey with a match played on a three-quarter length pitch with basketball legend Steve Nash.
The LA Lakers star thus got the chance to show what he can do with his feet and he lived up to his reputation for being a handy footballer, slotting in comfortably alongside the Nerazzurri as they played the ball about at pace. Afterwards, Nash chatted to [Inter manager] Walter Mazzarri and posed for souvenir photos.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel [Inter captain] Javier Zanetti worked in the pool as part of his recovery programme.
Which, I'm guessing, is where Lakers fans hope Nash himself returns, post-haste.
While the tryout itself appears to have been more a matter of using Nash's stateside profile to promote the International Champions Cup — which kicks off on Wednesday and runs through Aug. 8, with matches in cities across the country featuring European football clubs like Inter, A.C. Milan, Valencia, Chelsea, Juventus, Everton and Real Madrid, as well as MLS' L.A. Galaxy — it seems like Nash had a good time and mixed it up a bit, according to Roger Bennett of ESPN FC and the Grantland Network's "Men in Blazers" podcast:
Steve Nash's trial with Inter Milan is over. Nash played defense admirably, hand checking every opponent as if they were driving in the lane
— roger bennett (@rogbennett) July 30, 2013
More than Nash typically manages on the defensive end on the hardwood. Forza zing!
Here's Nash discussing the Inter tryout, the state of soccer in the U.S. and more on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday:
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