Steve Nash Will Tryout for Serie A's Inter Milan
According to the Associated Press' Tim Reynolds (h/t the Star Tribune), Nash will try out for the Serie A side Tuesday, as the club prepares for August's Guinness International Champions Cup. The Lakers guard isn't ready to turn in his basketball shoes for soccer cleats altogether, but Nash characterized this as an opportunity he couldn't pass up.
"It's a dream come true to get a chance to try out, not just to try out but to take the field with Inter Milan, one of the great, storied franchises in professional sports," Nash said. "I feel like a little kid."
Nash has long been known for his avid soccer fandom, and his own prowess with the soccer ball. The 39-year-old point guard claimed in a 2005 GQ interview (h/t NBA.com) that he could have played soccer professionally had he chosen to focus on it instead of basketball. He chose his No. 10 as a nod to Glenn Hoddle, Zinedine Zidane and other former soccer legends who donned that number.
Nash is public about his support for Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, and has even worked out with the New York Red Bulls of MLS in the past. He's also part of the Vancouver Whitecaps' ownership group.
This tryout, however, will be on a different level. Tournament officials told the AP that Nash's workout will happen in New Jersey, two days before Inter Milan's first match in the Guinness Cup against Chelsea. Nash even acknowledged that his nerves will be pretty high Tuesday—even more so than when he's about to step on an NBA floor:
It's going to be a lot higher than it is playing basketball, for sure. I still get nervous for basketball games from time to time. When I get out on the court, I don't get nervous, but before. To go out there with guys that I look up to and watch play, it's definitely going to raise the nerves. I'll be really nervous and really excited.
Nash averaged 12.7 points and 6.7 assists per game during the 2012-13 season, his first in Los Angeles. That campaign marked the first time since 2008-09 that Nash hadn't averaged greater than 10 assists per game, and marked his lowest assist total since the turn of the century.
Expected to help the Lakers hoist a 17th championship banner, Nash's season was marred by injuries. He missed 32 regular-season games while dealing with a fractured left leg and a lingering hip injury, one that kept him out of the Lakers' final two postseason games against the San Antonio Spurs.
While Nash still acknowledged he's working his way back to full health, the fact he's comfortable enough with his body to try out for a soccer club should be construed as a positive sign.
Inter Milan finished ninth in the Italian league's table last season, a result they will surely look to improve on in 2013-14.
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