'The Club is in my blood, it's a way of life' - NBA legend Steve Nash on Spurs
Wed 16 November 2016, 14:44|Tottenham Hotspur
Life has changed for Steve Nash.
We first met him back in August, 1999 when he trained with the team for the first time at our former training HQ at Spurs Lodge, Chigwell. Then 25 and a point guard at Dallas Mavericks, Steve told us how he came to support Spurs and how it was a dream come true to train with the likes of David Ginola, Les Ferdinand, Steffen Freund and a young Ledley King - pictured above. We pointed out how he was tipped to 'accomplish a lot in the sport of basketball'.
Seventeen years on, and he was back, this time at Hotspur Way, our world-class training facility.
Below: Steve trains with goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez, Heung-Min Son, Christian Eriksen and Moussa Sissoko
This time he's a recently retired basketball great. In fact, one of the NBA's all-time greats, twice named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (the ‘MVP’ in 2005, 2006 with Phoenix Suns) and was selected eight times for the NBA’s All-Star Game in a career spanning the Suns, Mavericks and LA Lakers.
As we said, he'd accomplish a lot.
So life has changed, but Steve's support of Spurs burns ever brightly. "Yes, it’s in my blood," he told us.
"My dad grew up across the park from White Hart Lane, my granddad was also a Spurs fan and when you are born into that, it’s just a way of life.
Below: Steve with David Ginola and Les Ferdinand in 1999
"You wake up and wake up to see what is going on in ‘Spurs land’ and from across the pond it’s so easy to follow the team now through social media and the internet and cable TV, it’s even better to be a fan now.
"When I was a kid, you’d have to hope it was a Spurs game on in Canada at 5am in the morning on the west coast, I’d get up with my kit on with my dad. Nowadays, we can get it all.
"I can see every Spurs match in the Premier League and Champions League. I get to see a ton of games and soccer has come so far in the States. I came into the NBA 20 years ago and it was hard to get a game in the States but now you get every Premier League game plus Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Italian games, MLS, Mexico. The game has exploded.
"It’s a fantastic time to be able to watch, especially with the renaissance of this famous old beautiful Club as one of the top clubs in the world."
Below: Steve with Victor Wanyama and Christian Eriksen
After 18 years treading the boards at the very top level - over 1,200 games in the NBA - how was Steve handling one of the toughest changes in his life - retirement?
"It’s very difficult and something all sportsmen go through," he explained. "I think there’s an old adage ‘every athlete dies twice’ and there really is a grieving that has to go on because you identify yourself as an athlete, you validate yourself as an athlete and even though I had other interests and thought I was a well-rounded person, I trained and pushed and pushed for years to get the most out of myself as an athlete that when that goes away no matter how many other interests you have, to not be able to push to be the best and to play at the highest level is a huge void to fill.
Below: Steve up against current NBA MVP Stephen Curry - Lakers v Golden State, 2013
"I’m two years after retirement now and I’m starting to feel pretty balanced and secure but there are still days when you are a little sad, you miss it and you miss the fellas as well, you miss the competition and the banter in the locker room or the bus or the plane going on the road, all that stuff."
So did training with us help a little? "Yes, amazing. In some ways I’m out here and I’m like a little kid at Christmas, I’m with these guys who I live and die with every weekend.
"On the other hand, it feels so familiar to be out there in training, the banter, the boys smiling and laughing, it feels like home. Fortunately for me, I get opportunities like this. They are a dream come true and I know there are millions of Spurs fans out there who would love to be in this position, but every time I do get a chance to do it, it’s like 10 Christmases at once."