Hoops fans know Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash as a two-time National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player. But he’s also distinguished himself off the court as a philanthropist, a capable soccer player and, of course, a New Yorker. He’s combined all of those interests with the creation of Showdown in Chinatown, an annual charity soccer game played in downtown New York City, which this year took place on June 23. He talks about his non-basketball passions—and gracefully dodges our question about LeBron James—below.
Tell us about the Showdown in Chinatown soccer game, the accompanying brunch and The Steve Nash Foundation.
Steve Nash: The Showdown is pretty much my childhood dream: professional soccer players—incredible guys—from around the world and some of the best NBA talent on a small pitch in the middle of the Lower East Side. My friend Simone [Sandri] and I came up with the idea, roped Claudio Reyna into it, and we’re on our third year. The great part about it, for me, is it’s a real game—it’s not your typical charity exhibition match. We’re playing out there, and the crowd loves it. With this being a World Cup year, the City is even more excited about football.
The whole day is packed. In the morning [on June 23], my foundation is holding a brunch fundraiser to support the work we’re doing in the United States and overseas. We’re keeping it very small—only about 25 people—so it’s really going to be a time to talk and get creative and get to know new people that are interested in what we’re doing. The "Evening of Showdown" is bigger, but a great opportunity to mingle with the players. We have a live auction and just celebrate summer and giving back. Tickets to both are available on stevenash.org/showdown.
As you may know, the United States is bidding to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022, and New York City is a candidate host city. What would make it different here from anywhere else?
SN: NYC hosting the World Cup would be incredible. The City speaks for itself as an attraction, but the multicultural element is perfect for the diversity and excitement a World Cup brings. The City would be electric. There is no place like it.
Where in the City will you watch 2010 World Cup matches?
SN: First, I go to Phebe’s pub on the Bowery. My friend Derek [Kierans] owns it, and there’s always a great atmosphere to watch games. After that, sometimes I’ll go to a restaurant or bar that represents countries playing, including Novecento when Argentina’s playing or Felix when Brazil is on.
Who will you root for in the World Cup this year?
SN: My dad is from England, so I’ve supported England since I was a little boy. Hopefully this will be the year!
Where are some of your favorite places in NYC to eat, shop and hang out?
SN: Living downtown, I spend most of my time here. I don’t shop much, but there’s great shopping in the West Village, SoHo and the Lower East Side. They are also jam-packed with great restaurants of different [ambiences] and ethnicities. Spend a day walking the different neighborhoods and you’ll uncover all kinds of shops, restaurants and bars that you’ll keep coming back to.
I can’t resist asking: what are the chances of LeBron James coming to NYC?
SN: I don’t want to get caught up in LeBron talk or get fined for it! Of course he’s a magnetic talent, the type you come to expect from a big city. I think he’s going to have a hard time leaving his hometown. [Editor’s note: We’ll see about that!]
For details about Steve Nash’s charitable work, visit stevenash.org.