Veteran Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash achieved a lifelong dream on Tuesday.
The two-time NBA MVP has long called soccer one of his most cherished sports, and Nash was able to take the pitch with legendary Italian club Inter Milan in New Jersey.
The 18-time Italian league champions are in the U.S. practicing for Saturday’s Guinness International Champions Cup tournament. Nash practiced with Inter ahead of their first match against English Premier League powerhouse Chelsea in Indianapolis. The finals of the tournament will take place on Aug. 7 in Miami Gardens, Fla.
The 39-year-old played soccer as a kid, and has also used the sport as a fundraiser for the Steve Nash Foundation. Since 2008 the charity has held the Showdown in New York and L.A. with stars from the soccer and NBA worlds pitted against each other in a friendly match. The foundation’s proceeds aid “underserved” children throughout North America and in Paraguay, according to the event’s official site.
In the past Nash has called EPL’s Tottenham Hotspur his favorite club, and his love of the sport turned into a partial ownership of an MLS expansion club, Vancouver Whitecaps. Nash's younger brother played for the Whitecaps from 2004 to 2010.
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Here is the video of Nash’s scrimmage with Inter via the NBA.
Nash has conceded many times that he could have played soccer professionally if he had dedicated more time to it rather than basketball. Below is a clip of his impressive footwork during a stop in play against Boston back in February
To the benefit of Lakers fans, Nash looked very spry and ready for next season. It was a rough season compared typical Laker standards, as L.A. barely earned a playoff berth last season before losing Kobe Bryant to injury. They later lost Dwight Howard to Houston via free agency this summer, but a healthy Nash along with Bryant making a speedy recovery from Achilles surgery should keep L.A. competitive in the Western Conference next season.
Only a couple of weeks ago, Bryant had also made an appearance with an Italian soccer club. He rehabbed with AC Milan at the club’s training center in Italy, and took lots of pictures with the players, as reported by the Daily Mail. Bryant spent a portion of his childhood in Italy, when he his father Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, played for four different teams.