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Steve Nash expects to be healthy for the Lakers next season

Steve Nash’s debut season with the Lakers proved problematic, with the veteran guard missing 32 regular-season games and most of the team’s brief postseason.

Nash was out early in the year with a leg fracture. Currently he’s rehabbing hip, hamstring and back issues that limited the 39-year old guard in the Lakers’ first-round loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

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“By the time the season comes around, I expect to be 100% and in a great position to have a great year,” Nash said on a conference call to announce the 2013 Steve Nash Foundation Showdown.

In addition to the sixth annual event in New York, Nash will debut his eight-a-side soccer showdowns in Los Angeles, with proceeds benefitting underserved children in their health and education -- with a special focus on early childhood education and child abuse research and prevention.

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“This is a really special event for me,” said Nash. “I’m able to bring together three of my biggest passions: helping children through my foundation, basketball and soccer.”

Time Warner Cable SportsNet will air both the events. The first will be held at Sara D. Roosevelt Park in New York on June 26. The second will be hosted at the Red Shield Community Center in Los Angeles on July 14.

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“We’re going raise some money for charity. We’re going to have a great time,” said Nash. “I think what makes this event so great, other than the charitable component, is that you have NBA players and international soccer stars playing . . . on the streets again as they did as kids.”

The participating athletes have yet to be announced, but previous players have included Tony Parker, Jason Kidd, Chris Bosh, Grant Hill, Brandon Jennings, Thierry Henry, Salomon Kalou, Claudio Reyna, Robbie Rogers, Patrick Vieira, Emmerson Boyce, Giuseppe Rossi and Javier Zanetti.

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“I’m still rehabbing right now, but with a few weeks left, I should be good to go,” said Nash. ""I’ll be able to play, hopefully, in both Showdown events.”

Admission is free, although VIP packages are available, along with access to the “Showdown After Hours” parties following the matches.

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Nash grew up a soccer fan in Canada before picking up a basketball. He said he has a very similar game on the pitch as he does on the court.

“Leandro Barbosa, my former teammate [with the Phoenix Suns] . . . says I play soccer exactly how I play basketball,” said Nash. “I love to pass and play-make but not afraid to shoot when I get the opportunity.”

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Where would he play prospective teammate Dwight Howard if he made it to the Showdown?

“I think Dwight would be best served in goal, but maybe he could surprise me out on the field a little bit,” said Nash.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.


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