Steve Nash to partner with Beck & Score to promote 2014 World Cup

Steve Nash plans to dole out another assist.

But this time, this won’t involve Nash making one of his dazzling passes on the basketball court. Instead, the Lakers guard plans to partner with Beck & Score, a service that plans to provide discounted tickets and travel arrangements to the 2014 World Cup beginning in June in Brazil.

“It is well known that I am passionate about soccer, and the opportunity to partner with Beck & Score, to merge business with sport was very intriguing to me,” Nash said in a statement on the company’s Web site. “My role will largely be to represent Beck & Score’s promotional and press initiatives starting with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil in June.”

Nash has frequently kicked around ideas to get on the pitch.

He has hosted a charity soccer tournament in recent years in New York and added an event last year in Los Angeles, both games in which supported his self-named foundation. Nash remains a part-owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer. He also spent last offseason season participating in a friendly tryout for the Inter Milan soccer team. Nash also traveled to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup where he freelanced for CBS Sports.

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Chris Webber offers take on Lakers, Steve Nash, pending free agency

Lakers#10 Steve Nash fires up his team mates Lakers#50 Robert Sacre and Lakers#0 Nick Young in the first half. The Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers in a regular season game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. April 1, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers#10 Steve Nash fires up his team mates Lakers#50 Robert Sacre and Lakers#0 Nick Young in the first half. The Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers in a regular season game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. April 1, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

TNT analyst and former NBA star Chris Webber was on hand for the Lakers’ 124-112 loss Tuesday to the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center. And with that, Webber touched on a number of topics surrounding the purple and gold. Below are a few released through TNT:

Webber on the future of the Lakers:
“If you are a Lakers fan, you’re very upset about this season with the injuries to [Lakers veterans] Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. But if you look forward to the future, these young guys like [Lakers guards] Kent Bazemore and Jodie Meeks are getting a lot of playing time. If they’re going to be on this team in the future, experience is what you need now since you are out of the playoff race. There are still some positive things happening [for the Lakers].”

Webber on the return of veteran Steve Nash from injury: “He does not have to play, but there is a button in his head that tells him to go get the ball, jump and shoot like he used to be able to. You can’t do that as a veteran player. It is so frustrating; it’s like a game within itself. Nash is out here for the love. You have to love, respect and honor that. You just hope he has fun while he’s playing and finishing out his career.”
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Steve Nash offering encouraging signs with his play

The concerns kept popping into Mike D’Antoni’s head even as he saw Steve Nash show the signs of greatness that solidified him as a two-time MVP, the fourth all-time leader in assists and pending candidate for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Nash endlessly provided dazzling plays with swift passes and timely shots. But how long could he withstand his injury-riddled 40-year-old body? Nash looked mobile enough to play through a sprained left ankle that required treatment. But how long before that ankle became yet another ailment that would set back his recovery? Nash kept insisting he felt fine. But how much did those words reflect more of his competitive spirit than an actual medical diagnosis?

After repeatedly peppering Nash throughout the game about his health, D’Antoni eventually cracked something that both showed his sarcasm and his affection for a player that once consistently revitalized his fast-paced, perimeter-oriented offense with the Phoenix Suns.

Recalled D’Antoni: ‘Well, I guess when you just keel over we’ll just cart him off and know that we have to substitute.’”

Yet, such a scenario never unfolded as Nash posted his first double double of the season, a 10-point and 10-assist effort in only 21 minutes providing a bright spot in the Lakers’ 124-112 loss Tuesday to the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center.

“The key for me is if I’m moving well, I know I can play the game at a high level and I felt good tonight,” Nash said while sitting down by his locker stall with an electronic stimulation machine attached to his ankle. “If I’m moving well, good things I think can happen out there.”
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Steve Nash reports no setbacks in Lakers’ loss to Minnesota, but unsure about playing status

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash (10) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9), of Spain, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis, Friday, March 28, 2014. The Timberwolves won 143-107. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash (10) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9), of Spain, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis, Friday, March 28, 2014. The Timberwolves won 143-107. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

MINNEAPOLIS — Only two days beforehand, Steve Nash considered his back so painful that he would not even try to play on the Lakers’ two-game trip.

The concerns no longer rested on whether his body could sustain the physical wear and tear. Instead, the nerve irritation became so bothersome that his workload reduced toward nothing more than spot-up shooting drills.

Yet, there Nash was on the court in the Lakers’ 143-107 loss Friday to the Minnesota Timberwolves where he posted five points on two of five shooting and six assists in 15 minutes. Both the game and Nash’s stat line proved meaningless, but his on-court presence revealed everything about how he’s still finding purpose in a lost season.

“A guy that wants to play,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was how he described his 40-year-old point guard. “Obviously he will be rusty and everything. We’ll have to keep monitoring that going forward.”

For once, that progress did not entail Nash making any turns for the worse.

“I wasn’t totally pain free, but I didn’t have one of those, obviously, setbacks that are kind of debilitating,” Nash said. “So, we’ll see. Hopefully I can play again.”

Why Nash played hinged on three factors.

He reported feeling healthy enough to play. The Lakers suffered an additional injury with Xavier Henry sitting out because of increased soreness in his right knee, an injury that has sidelined him for 28 other games this season. Lakers guard Jordan Farmar plans to get reevaluated this weekend in hopes to return late next week after missing the previous six games because of a strained right groin. The Lakers had originally shut Nash down earlier this month in part because they wanted Kendall Marshall and Farmar to have significant minutes so they could properly evaluate how they fit into their long-term plans.

“Frankly I don’t know if I’ll play again or if I play every game (the rest) of the year,” said Nash, his status for the Lakers game Sunday against Phoenix at Staples center an unknown. “The bottom line is right now is this is a situation where I want to play, that’s the only reason I played tonight, but I also want to go into this summer healthy.”
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Steve Nash to sit out during Lakers’ trip

The Lakers' Steve Nash gives a hug to teammate Xavier Henry after an errant pass, Friday, March 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

The Lakers’ Steve Nash gives a hug to teammate Xavier Henry after an errant pass, Friday, March 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

MILWAUKEE — It turns out Steve Nash will only have to brace for the cold Midwestern temperatures on the Lakers’ latest trip than stress over his ailing back feeling worse because of incidental contact.

Nash ruled himself out for when the Lakers (24-16) play tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks (13-58) at BMO Harris Bradley Center and for Friday’s game in Minnesota.

“Hopefully in the next week I’ll be able to play,” Nash said.

Nash joked that he should expedite his timetable so he can play before Jordan Farmar returns from a strained right groin that has sidelined him for the past four games. But the Lakers will not evaluate Farmar until sometime next week without any assurances if he will return then.

Nash posted an efficient 11 assists in 19 minutes in the Lakers’ loss Friday to Washington, a game he only played because the Lakers only had one traditional point guard in Kendall Marshall. But Nash reported feeling a tweak in his back toward the end of the game, an injury that has sidelined him for all but 11 games this season.

“It’s irritated,” Nash said. “I’m going to let it settle it down. It’s coming.”


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Steve Nash pinpoints Kobe Bryant-Mike D’Antoni relationship hurt from lack of time together

The Lakers' Steve Nash drives the baseline on the Wizards' Andre Miller, Friday, March 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

The Lakers’ Steve Nash drives the baseline on the Wizards’ Andre Miller, Friday, March 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

Back when he first chased his dream toward achieving basketball greatness, Kobe Bryant played in Italy and looked up to someone who would later become his coach with the Lakers.

Mike D’Antoni.

Bryant idolized D’Antoni for obvious reasons. In his stint with Olimpia Milano (1978-90), D’Antoni finished as the team’s all-time leading scorer, won five Italian League titles, two Euroleague titles, two Cups of Italy, one Korac Cup and one Interconintental Cup. So Bryant proudly wore D’Antoni’s No. 8 jersey, which later became his number initially with the Lakers.

All of these years later, however, Steve Nash confirmed that Bryant and D’Antoni have not become a good match together with the Lakers.

“I wouldn’t disagree,” Nash told ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd. “We’ve seen that. People have deduced and read between the lines and felt that way, they’re not wrong. It’s not the perfect marriage.”
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Steve Nash doubtful to play Sunday vs. Orlando

The Lakers' Steve Nash does a behind the back pass after driving the key on the Wizards' Trevor Ariza, Friday, March 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

The Lakers’ Steve Nash does a behind the back pass after driving the key on the Wizards’ Trevor Ariza, Friday, March 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

This sounds painfully repetitive.

Steve Nash is considered doubtful to play when the Lakers (22-46) host the Orlando Magic (19-51) Sunday at Staples Center because of nerve irritation in his back and hamstrings. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni still held out hope Nash could play a home game on Tuesday against the New York Knicks.

“He feels better, bu it’s still precarious,” D’Antoni said. “We’re just being real cautious.”

Nash posted a season-high 11 assists in 19 minutes in the Lakers’ 117-107 loss Friday to the Washington Wizards, but he left with 2:14 remaining when nerve pain emerged.

Did Nash play too many minutes?

“Nobody knows. I’ve never had a hard number,” D’Antoni said. “You kind of play them and say, ‘How do you feel, are you tired at all?’ You want to be cautious and we thought we were. He said he made movement and he tweaked it. He has some pain. I don’t know if it was a product of the minutes or just the physicality of it happening. It didn’t seem like a lot of minutes, but we’ll definitely watch it.”

D’Antoni announced two weeks ago that Nash would sit out the rest of the season both because of his health and so the Lakers could evaluate young prospects Kendall Marshall and Jordan Farmar. But Farmar strained his right groin last week, leaving Marshall as the team’s lone traditional point guard.

Nash has played in only 11 games this season, averaging 7.4 points on 36.7 percent shooting and 5.3 assists in 22.2 minutes. The Lakers also have remained decimated at the backcourt position elsewhere. Kobe Bryant played only six games before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Farmar has sat out a combined 32 games because of hamstring and groin issues. Steve Blake missed 36 games because of a hyperextended right elbow before the Lakers traded him last month to the Golden State Warriors for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks. Xavier Henry will also sit out tonight because of a torn ligament in his left wrist. Henry plans to see a hand specialist on Monday, but he told D’Antoni he can play Tuesday against New York.

The depleting backcourt leaves the Lakers likely to use Bazemore and Jodie Meeks sharing ball handling duties behind Marshall.

“That’s probably one of the reasons why it’s hard to get traction,” D’Antoni said. “You lose the heart and soul of your team, it also affects other players. The league is dominated by really good point guards. You got to have them.”

Meanwhile, the Lakers will field their 32nd starting lineup that will feature Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill, Wesley Johnson, Meeks and Marshall. Hill posted nine points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in the Lakers’ loss to Washington in his first appearance since missing the past 10 games with a hyperextended right knee. Johnson returns to the lineup after sitting out against Washington with an upper respiratory infection.

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Steve Nash to play as a reserve vs. Washington

Lakers' Steve Nash (10) eludes Jazz's Trey Burke (3) as he drives to the key in a NBA Western Conference basketball game at the Staples Center Tuesday, February 11, 2014, Los Angeles, CA.  After a sizable lead, the Lakers trailed at halftime 48-37. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Lakers’ Steve Nash (10) eludes Jazz’s Trey Burke (3) as he drives to the key in a NBA Western Conference basketball game at the Staples Center Tuesday, February 11, 2014, Los Angeles, CA. After a sizable lead, the Lakers trailed at halftime 48-37.
Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Among Steve Nash’s two-time MVP’s and fourth place standing on the NBA’s all-time assists leaders, here’s one number that won’t become part of his resume during his eventual induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Nash will make his 161st appearance out of 1,213 games as a reserve when the Lakers (22-45) host the Washington Wizards (35-33) tonight at Staples Center. The Lakers originally shut him down last week because of nerve irritation in his back and hamstrings that sidelined him for all but 10 games. But the Lakers have only one healthy point guard in Kendall Marshall after Jordan Farmar strained his right groin this week, an injury that will keep him out for at least two weeks.

“I don’t know how much I can play and be available,” Nash said. “But if I can help out of the bullpen, it’ll be fun for me.”

D’Antoni envisions playing Nash about five to six minutes each half behind Marshall. The Lakers are mindful Nash hasn’t played since Feb. 11, has only progressed toward full non-contact practices and could face additional setbacks with his health. After playing the first six games, Nash rehabbed for three months and made only four more appearances before a collision with Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich disrupted the nerves in his left leg, which was fractured last season and sidelined him for 24 games.

“That’s a really difficult thing for me to do when I play,” Nash said. “I forget all about that stuff. It’s adrenaline and I don’t really even think about contact. If I get hit again, I get hit again, I’ll be pretty unlucky. But I don’t think about it.”

The Lakers have other injuries to monitor beyond Nash.

Nick Young and Jordan Hill are expected to play after nursing knee injuries in recent weeks. Wesley Johnson will sit out because of an upper respiratory infection. D’Antoni said he plans to start Kent Bazemore at small forward while featuring Robert Sacre at power forward and Pau Gasol at center after experimenting with that combination in the Lakers’ loss Wednesday against San Antonio.

But plenty of intrigue surrounds Nash’s return because of the unexpected circumstances.

“It’s a big step to take a two-time MVP and say you come off the bench to help a team that’s win 1-85,” D’Antoni said. “Since he hasn’t’ practice and done a lot and we want to be cautious, not starting him makes sense.”

Nash has become well respected in NBA circles, including the Lakers, for his work ethic, sharp passing and pleasant personality. But he’s become a divisive figure among Laker fans. Nash has averaged 7.6 points on 36 percent shooting and 4.7 assists through 10 games, the minimum amount of games needed to prevent a medical retirement. Nash could not opt for a medical retirement, however, unless an NBA appointed physician determined he wasn’t fit to play. Nash also conceded in his recent video series with Grantland that he wants to play in the 2014-15 season in part so he could earn the $9.7 million owed to him in his final year of his contract.

“I think anyone who has some sort of critical thinking ability in the situation would think, ‘Who wouldn’t?’ It is a contract and we fight for every five, six , seven, eight years to hold on to guaranteed contracts in our business,” Nash said. “I came here with the highest of hopes, broke my leg playing here and I think people respect the fact that’s honest. Anyone who wouldn’t say that is not trustworthy.”

Still, Nash maintained that even amid two injury plagued seasons with the Lakers, he has embraced the experience.

“A lot of fans are really supportive of what I went through,” Nash said. “Of course the ones with a negative perspective have a lot of voices. But I’ve had an unbelievable time here and incredible support from the majority of fans. I don’t know hw yit would be any different.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Steve Nash plans to play Friday vs. Washington

In this file photo, Steve Nash talks to media after Lakers practice on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. (Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze file)

In this file photo, Steve Nash talks to media after Lakers practice on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. (Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze file)

After completing all portions of the Lakers’ non-contact practice on Thursday, Lakers guard Steve Nash plans to play Friday against the Washington Wizards at Staples Center, according to league source.

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni had ruled Nash out last week because of nerve irritation in his back and hamstrings that sidelined him for all but 10 games. But the Lakers only have one true point guard in Kendall Marshall, who is still expected to start against Washington. Jordan Farmar is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks because of strained right groin, while the Lakers struggled in their 125-109 loss Wednesday to San Antonio with a by-committee backcourt that included Jodie Meeks, Kent Bazemore and Xavier Henry.

Nash who hasn’t played a game since Feb. 11 and has averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 assists in 10 games. But he told this newspaper last week that he has felt healthy enough to play after spending recent weeks rehabbing his back and hamstrings and completing shooting drills. But the Lakers were reluctant to play him for both health reasons and so they could evaluate their young prospects.

Nash, who is under contract for next season worth $9.7 million, plans to return next season.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Steve Nash reflects on Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Princeton offense

From the moment Steve Nash walked onto the Lakers’ practice floor, donned a purple and gold uniform and dribbled a basketball, too many signs suggested his foreshadowing suggested on a Sports Illustrated cover would not turn out as planned.

You know, the one where a smiling Nash and Dwight Howard stood side by side in conjunction with this headline: “Now this is going to be fun.”

Quite the opposite. The Lakers’ 2012-13 team featured too many toxic elements that eventually ended in a $100 million payroll banking on only a first-round exit to the San Antonio Spurs. But even before the Lakers chose Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson or Kobe Bryant tore out his left Achilles tendon just before the playoffs, Nash recently told Grantland.com’s Bill Simmons that he possessed some clairvoyance that this wouldn’t go as planned.

The first begins with Lakers coach Mike Brown, who tried implementing a complex Princeton-based offense that Nash entailed 4 1/2 practices.

“Training camp was miserable,” Nash said. “We had these enormous practices because we were trying to figure out this really intricate offense. Nobody knew it.”
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