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Nash has found his niche

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- At 6-foot-11, Kevin Nash can still hit the hoop.

But at 310 pounds, don't expect him to jump. Not unless it's squarely onto another wrestler's chest.

Eight years ago, the former University of Tennessee basketball player took a stunt class and signed up as a pro wrestler. Seems that a World Championship Wrestling costume suited Nash better than his Vols uniform.

"I love what I do," Nash said. "I guess everybody finds a niche in life, and I kind of found mine."

Nash was recruited to Tennessee from Aquinas High School in Trenton, Mich., by Ray Mears in the late '70s, but got to the school after Mears left. He wound up playing for coach Don DeVoe instead -- when the two weren't fighting.

A tussle with DeVoe in his junior year got Nash kicked off the team. He then played in the Army, and as a pro in Europe. A knee ligament tear ended his basketball career in 1985.

After stints a bouncers in Detroit and Atlanta, Nash decided to try wrestling. He spent three years with WCW, quickly becoming a fan favorite. He also played several small roles on TV and film, including a part in "Teen-age Mutant Ninja Turtles II."

When his WCW contract expired, he switched to the World Wrestling Federation, becoming a world champ under the name Diesel.

In 1996, Nash got tired of playing a character, and moved back to the WCW.

"God made me almost 7-feet tall, and now I'm 300 pounds. I don't think I was made an accountant or a bookkeeper," Nash said. "I was put on this earth for something. I guess this is what it was."

  • Dec. 5, 2004: All in the family for happy Nash