Steve Nash is also a huge soccer fan and was so talented an athlete, he only pursued basketball as a profession after turning down professional opportunities to play pro-soccer.
This love and talent for soccer, not to mention his charity, the Steve Nash Foundation, lead to him creating the Showdown event in New York City. An 8v8 soccer match featuring player from the NBA, top soccer leagues around the world as well as a mixture of media members and celebrities.
The setting always takes place in urban downtown New York City to provide an appropriate setting for his charity that benefits underprivileged urban youths.
Wednesday 27th 2012 saw the event take place for the fifth time, with the location being switched from Chinatown to Manhattans Lower East Side and the stars were on show yet again.
Chelsea’s Salomon Kalou was the biggest soccer talent on show with Showdown regular Thierry Henry a non playing guest. Wigan’s Emmerson Boyce with Bolton’s Stuart Holden and fellow US internationals Robbie Rogers and Maurice Edu also appeared alongside NBA stars Grand Hill, Elton Brant, Mike Dunleavy & Danny Green.
Representing local team New York Red Bulls was the impressive Mehdi Ballouchy while his teammates Henry, Dax McCarty and Heath Pearce watched from the sidelines.
For an event with such an array of talent on show, admission was free on a first come first serve basis and the game didn’t disappoint.
Salomon Kalou dazzled the crowd with audacious skills on his way to man of the match honors, while a plethora of goals (it was 7-5 when I stopped counting) and some funny moments (6ft 9in Elton Brand slicing a point blank shot into the face of fellow 6ft 9er and former Duke teammate Mike Dunleavy raised a laugh and a ooooowww from the crown).
While it may not share the notoriety of Soccer Aid, Showdown continues to provide fantastic soccer entertainment and to downtown New York City while also raising money and awareness to a great cause.
Full Showdown 2012 roster:
Mike Dunleavy (Pacers)
Elton Brand (Philadelphia 76ers)
Mo Edu (Rangers, Scottish Premiership, US National Team)
Robbie Rogers (Leeds United, Us National Team)
Marc Stein (Espn commentator)
Danny Green (Spurs)
Jimmy Conrad (former US National Team)
Charlie Ludi (captain of Novara, Italy)
Emerson Boyce (captain of Wigan, England)
Simone Sandri (Nba writer)
Alessandro Noselli (Sassuolo, Italy)
Steve Nash (Suns)
Rod Fanni (Marseille)
-On the field coach and supporters:
Giuseppe Rossi (Villareal, Liga, Spain)
Thierry Henry (NY RedBulls)
Grant Hill (Suns)
Stu Holden (Bolton, Premiership, Eng, US National Team)