Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, a lifelong soccer fan, discusses his love for the beautiful game, his new gig with Turner Sports and B/R Football and the challenges of reaching a new audience.
Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, a lifelong soccer fan, joined SI.com’s Grant Wahl on the new Planet Fútbol podcast to give his first interview since the announcement that Nash is joining B/R Football and Turner Sports and will be part of Turner’s English-language UEFA Champions League coverage when it starts later this year.
Nash discussed his background in soccer and what he’ll be doing in his new job, which will include studio work and interactive segments with special guests, soccer fans and other athletes. He’ll be one of several contributors to Turner’s Champions League coverage, joining more traditional soccer commentators as well.
Nash also revealed that Turner’s Champions League studio show will originate from Los Angeles.
Here are some of the standout quotes from the podcast interview, which can be listened in full in the podcast console below (to subscribe to and download the podcast, you can find us on iTunes here):
On how his job with Turner and B/R Football came about:
“It’s a dream come true. Obviously, when you play basketball for a living you don’t expect to get the opportunity to be involved in soccer telecasts and broadcasting. But I got a call from David Finocchio, who created Bleacher Report, which is a part of the Turner family. And their UEFA coverage will be branded Bleacher Report Football. So he gave me a call, and he said he had some new ideas and plans on the way he wanted to cover soccer for Bleacher Report. And one of those things was to try to reach a larger new audience. And I think that was the genesis of my involvement. And what was exciting to me also is the type of content they want to capture: In-depth personalities and insight into some of these guys that are world-class athletes and household names in much of the rest of the world but probably are under-known by the general population in the U.S.”
On trying to achieve a balance in Champions League coverage that appeals to both new soccer fans in the U.S. and hard-core fans at the same time:
“That is the ideal type of storytelling or content that we want to create: Moments where they’re not only interesting and informative to life-long fans or someone who is an incredibly attuned soccer fan, but also is accessible for somebody who’s new to the sport or might be interested. That is a challenge. And hopefully sometimes we can hit the nail on the head there.”
On whether it’s fair to say that even though Nash is a two-time NBA MVP, he is more passionate about soccer than basketball at this point in his life:
“Yeah, I don’t know if that’s any secret (laughs). I do consult for the Warriors. I’m involved with the Canadian national team program. So I do have my ties with basketball, and I still love the game. I’m part of the ownership group of the Vancouver Whitecaps and Real Mallorca in Spain, and now obviously working with the B/R Football team. Soccer is just a huge part of my life, a huge and genuine part of my everyday. Whether I would be doing this for a living or not, I’m watching a ton of soccer and am just obsessive about the game.”