What appeared to be a spam message promising an eyebrow-raising $500,000 to a winning team at some basketball tourney turned out to be the real deal—a chance to get together with his fellow Notre Dame alumni/pals, hoop so hard that he’d win MVP, and yes, even accept that fat check.

Tyrone Nash, a 6-8 baller from New York, said he initially disregarded the message to participate in The Basketball Tournament. With a hefty grand prize and no admittance fee, “something didn’t seem right.”

A month or so later, an old pal from Ty’s alma mater hit him up. It was Kieran Piller. He spoke with the commish of TBT, realized it was legitimate, and acted as the GM for the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni, the team Ty agreed to join at the power forward position.

Fresh off of his best season so far in Tübingen, Germany, Nash led the Fighting Alumni with 19 points on 8-10 shooting in their final game in the tournament against Team Barstool. The performance earned him MVP. “It was an experience that I’m going to live with for the rest of my life and be able to look back on as great moments,” he said.

Nash says similar things about his first three years of pro play in Germany. Although it’s a soccer-loving country (appropriate, seeing as the national team will play in the semifinals of the World Cup today), basketball is growing. Next, he’ll head over to France for the first time to play in Rouen. ‘Tis a global game.

“Being able to play a sport—basketball—that I love and being able to see the world at the same time, I think is a pretty cool thing,” he said. “I can’t take it for granted because I know a lot of guys would love to be in this position.”

While he’s grateful for the position he’s in, as he works out stateside before training camp in France calls August 11, Nash strives for more. He wants to level-up his game, take his talents to the NBA, and feels he has the skill set and drive to do that.

“It’s just the person that I am, the competitor that I am. I always want to strive for more,” he said. “I achieved certain goals, but the NBA is a goal that I haven’t achieved yet, and I’m going to continuously strive for it and try to reach that goal until that day when I’m just not able to do it anymore.”

Nash fell in love with the game as early as 3 or 4-years-old, and remembers imitating the likes of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in his home, with the help of the Fisher Price hoop his parents gifted him. He started playing in leagues soon after, leading up to four years with his high school varsity team, then four years with Notre Dame, to his current overseas career.

It certainly was a fun ride, albeit full of hard work and countless days in the gym, and it’s not over. What Ty’s waiting for now is a chance to get his foot in the door to show what he’s really made of, to show that he’s an NBA-caliber player.

“Until then, I’m gonna continue to play overseas, experience different cultures and grow as a person, learn more about myself, and continue to play basketball.”

And, you know, win MVP in a nifty little tournament in the States once in a while.