Italian Soccer team

Steve Nash warms up before his try-out with Inter Milan in Whippany, New Jersey. (Photo: Amy Sussman/AP Images for Guinness)Fortunately for Lakers fans, Steve Nash didn’t make the cut.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard had a ‘try out’ with elite Italian soccer team Inter Milan Tuesday in New Jersey as the team prepared for the first ever Guinness International Champions Cup. The nine-day bracket-format tournament starts Wednesday in several U.S. cities and also features other top international teams including AC Milan, Chelsea, Everton, Juventus, LA Galaxy, Real Madrid and Valencia.

“[The tryout] was kind of tongue-in-cheek, ” Nash told For The Win. “The coach was kind enough to let me get out there for a bit. They’re preparing for the season and the Guinness Cup. It’s not ideal preparation to have a stranger walk on the field. They were really gracious and gave me the time of my life.”

Nash runs during practice with Inter Milan. (Photo: Amy Sussman/AP Images for Guinness)

“Their level of skill, athleticism, understanding of the game and speed of thought and ability is incredibly honed and phenomenal to experience, ” Nash said.

The same could be said about the two-time NBA MVP on a basketball court, although he hasn’t had much time on one this summer, spending most of his off months rehabbing from an array of hamstring, hip and back injuries that plagued him at the end of last season.

“I’m not 100 percent but I’m getting really close and getting better all the time, ” Nash said. “I’ve done a lot of work and feeling positive and optimistic.”

He’ll return to a Lakers team that no longer has Dwight Howard and faces injury questions with fellow aging stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. The 39-year-old Nash, who has two seasons remaining on his contract with the team, seems to realize his window to win his first NBA title is closing.

“I definitely want to win a championship but it’s not going to define my career, ” Nash said. “If I get the opportunity that’ll be fantastic and it’s part of the motivation to keep playing, but I also feel like there’s a lot of other reward in playing. I still enjoy being a teammate and competing against the best players in the world.”

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