Steve Nash charity soccer game brings together NBA, U.S. Soccer stars
Steve Nash has two Most Valuable Player awards to his name from his 18 seasons in the NBA, but it was his 68-year-old father, John, taking home MVP honors of the 2015 Steve Nash Foundation Soccer Showdown in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday evening.
"At my age, I'm not as fanatical in sports as Steven is, but this was a pleasant surprise," John Nash said.
The elder Nash scored one goal, but it was not enough for his team as the International squad of all-stars fell 8-5 to Team USA. The International team was heavier on NBA talent with the Nash family, Miami Heat forward Luol Deng and guard Matthew Dellavedova.
Steve Nash scored an early goal and later told Sports Illustrated that he tries to make time for soccer now that he is retired from basketball.
"I usually try to play once a week to stay in shape," Nash said. "It's been fun for me and it's a little sanctuary for me."
Deng had two goals to his name and was knocking on the door of a hat trick with several close shots around the net. Soccer was Deng's first sport until he gave it up in high school.
"I had a lot of fun," Deng said. "There were some good soccer players out there. You can see that some of the former players still have the touch. I enjoyed it."
The introduction for Dellavedova before the game was one of the loudest from fans in attendance. The Australian rose to prominence after Kyrie Irving was ruled out for the NBA Finals with a fractured left knee cap. Dellavedova made guarding Stephen Curry on the hardwood look easier than guarding the likes of Giuseppe Rossi on the pitch.
"I played when I was younger, but I'm probably a bit rusty," Dellavedova said. "I'm in the minors compared to these guys out here."
Newly appointed St. John's basketball coach Chris Mullin played for the American team and showed some skills on the defensive end, but two halves of soccer were too much for the 51-year-old. Mullin traded in his cleats for sandals before the final whistle of the game.
"There's not enough scoring," Mullin joked. "I broke a little sweat. Once I sat down, I'm done. I know my limitations."
ESPN NBA reporter Marc Stein added two goals of his own for the U.S. team, which featured U.S. men's national team World Cup veterans Geoff Cameron and Jay DeMerit. New Jersey native Rossi also lined up for the U.S. despite playing for Italy in international play.
Stein had co-worker Amin Elhassan cracking jokes on the sidelines.
- Christopher Chavez