Turner Sports is taking over the rights to broadcast Champions League matches from Fox beginning in 2018-19, and they’ve made a new hire that should warm the hearts of all Tottenham Hotspur fans. NBA legend and massive Spurs fan Steve Nash will join Turner as a studio analyst beginning with the 2018-19 season.
On its surface it looks a little odd for Turner to hire an eight-time NBA All-Star to help anchor its coverage of European club football, but as Tottenham fans we know that Nash is not only a HUGE Spurs fan, but he’s been closely connected to the sport at all levels since he was a child.
Nash, a dual citizen of the UK and Canada, grew up playing football and hockey, and has said in the past that he would’ve been a professional footballer had he not instead chosen basketball. When he joined the Los Angles Lakers in 2012, he reportedly chose jersey #10 to pay homage to Glenn Hoddle and other playmakers of the world’s game. Since his NBA career ended he has become part owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps and RCD Mallorca, and has even expressed an interest in one day becoming a part owner of Tottenham:
“I’ve been a passionate supporter all my life. My parents are from north London and so it’s not like I’m some Yank who wants to make a profit out of football. I don’t care about making money. I just want to see Spurs succeed and, if I can help, that’s great.”
All that’s to say that Steve Nash is not parachuting into a soccer analyst gig without any experience in the sport. Also, it’s not as though the bar for being a studio analyst at a desk making comments during pre and post-match coverage and at halftime is an especially difficult bar to clear. Nash has shown himself to be knowledgable and interesting, and he also has a ton of media experience from his years as a professional athlete. It’s likely he’ll be fine, certainly no worse than a lot of the ex-players that already litter the studios for televised football matches.
But what most excites me about Nash is that, assuming Tottenham qualify for the Champions League next season, Spurs finally get a national pundit that has a pro-Spurs bias. It feels like a welcome counterweight after having to listen to Lee Dixon cover all of the big Spurs matches on NBC for the past few years.