Loyal Backpost reader and budding politician the Colorado Keeper pointed this out to us when it broke a few weeks back, but, because the Backpost Intern is on post-grad holiday in Iceland, and our head is like a sieve, we are just getting to it now—even though we’ve done two Jose Mourinho posts in the last few days. Ha. Ha-ha. Sigh.
No worries—better late than never, because this is a good one:
After watching Inter Milan hold on with 10 men to beat Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals, two-time NBA MVP and avid soccer fan Steve Nash posted the following to his Twitter account:
“The eleven to reach the final for Inter are: Butt, Yashin, Banks, Zoff, Maier, Tomaszewski, Zubizarreta, Schmeichel Clemens, Higuita, Chilavert.’’
Oh, snap! But wait, no Friedel or Keller, or your countryman, Onstad?
So, a funny tweet (someone needs to come up with a better word for that) from a high-profile athlete criticizing Inter’s defensive style in that semi. Hey, they were down to ten men—against Barcelona—what did you expect, Steve? But we digress. This joke would be shared among Nash’s Twitter followers that got it, and that’d be the end of it, right?
Not when the Special One is involved. Jose got wind of Nash’s comment, and felt the need to address it, in an interview with the Times of London:
“When I read comments by many real football people they understood how well we played that game and how much credit the players deserve. When I read some comments from some, I don’t want to say stupid people . . . For example, I read a comment from one of the best basketball players in the NBA, Steve Nash. He was saying that Inter could play that game with 10 goalkeepers. Fortunately, he plays basketball. He understands nothing about football.”
Nash revisited the matter on Twitter on May 16, writing,
“Oops I must’ve hit a nerve. Don’t worry Jose Mourinho I’ll bring you a case of wine to Madrid next season and we can make up!”
The feud appeared to wrap up amicably on May 20, when Mourinho offered an olive branch at a Champions League press conference:
”It is nothing. I hear he is a good man. There is no problem. I didn’t like what he said, but he is a great player and he can have his opinion.”
(Next up: Bill Belichik takes time out to address Didier Drogba’s critique of the Patriots’ 3-4 defense.)
Tip of the hat to the CO Keeper, and now:
A Bonus Steve Nash Story:
This one involves a friend of Backpost–let’s call him Dave–who is not the biggest sports fan in the world, as you’ll soon see.
You may know that Steve Nash spends his summers in New York City, where he plays a lot of pickup and rec-league soccer (the Suns are apparently okay with this).
There is a regular pickup soccer game at the East River Park (ERP) in lower Manhattan most summer nights and weekend afternoons. Dave lives in the neighborhood, and often plays there.
A few summers ago, right after Nash won his second straight NBA MVP trophy, Dave is playing at ERP, and there’s a guy in the game with longish, light brown hair who Dave says exudes a real surfer vibe. He’s also a very good player, so Dave keeps getting him the ball.
He–the guy–does stay out of the fray a bit, never challenging for 50-50 balls etc., but when he gets the ball at his feet, he’s very good, so Dave keeps knocking it to him. Halfway through, they’re taking a break and Dave goes up to him:
“Hey, you’re a good player. What’s your name?”
“Thanks. I’m Steve.”
“Hey Steve, I’m David. Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you.”
The game resumes, and after a little while, Dave notices that a bunch of little kids from the neighborhood have gathered to watch the game, all of them pointing at “Steve.” At the end of the game, the kids swarm around “Steve,” asking for his autograph, and getting their picture taken with him.
Dave walks up—and this is a direct quote—and says, “Wow, I’ve never played so well here that kids wanted their picture taken with me! What was your name again? Sorry.”
“Alright, Steve. Great playing with you.”
And off goes Dave on his bicycle, only mildly curious as to why all the kids from the neighborhood are still clamoring for a picture with this Steve fellow.
Yeah, that was Steve Nash, and Dave had just played an hour of pickup soccer with the reigning NBA MVP—without knowing a thing about it.