THE LA LAKERS’ latest acquisition, Steve Nash, has focused on ending his NBA career on a trophy-winning high and has paid tribute to some of the sports stars that inspired him to become one of basketball’s best point guards – Zidane, Maradona and Hoddle.
The two-time Most Valuable Player has moved from the Phoenix Suns to Los Angeles to team up with Kobe Bryant and his Lakers teammates.
He calls the move to a team that ranked as Phoenix’s long-time rivals as ‘surreal’ and adds that the chance to capture an NBA championship before he retires was the main motivation, along with family reasons, for the move.
However, before he got down to practice with his teammates and introduce himself to Laker staff, the 38-year-old let reporters know why he had chosen the Number 10 Lakers singlet.
Nash said, “As everyone knows, I’m a huge soccer fan. My first word was ‘goal’.
“I grew up in a huge soccer household. Number 10 is the number of playmakers in soccer, so, simple as that.”
Nash was then asked, in Spanish, about the significance of the jersey choice. He responded (in Spanish):
All of the players, Diego (Maradona), (Zinedine) Zidane and Glenn Hoddle, they are my idols. It’s an honour for me to wear number 10.
Speaking after the press conference to Lakers.com reporter Matt Trudell, the point guard expanded on his footballing obsession and that ’10′ jersey. He said:
It is near and dear to me and an important part of my life so it is fun for me to wear the Number 10.
Hopefully I’ll be able to be a good playmaker for the Lakers.”
Nash’s new teammates, Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant andPau Gasol, are also card-carrying football fans and the Canadian believes that the sport aided his development as a basketball player.
“I didn’t play basketball until I was 13,” he revealed, “and I wouldn’t have been an NBA player if I didn’t play soccer.
“It allowed and afforded me so much physically, I think. It helped with my endurance, coordination and footwork. Also, it gave me that ability to anticipate and see the angles.”
You can check out the press conference highlights here.
YouTube credit: lakersnationdotcom