Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash staged his fifth annual “Showdown in Chinatown” charity soccer match last night, and Team Backpost had a front-row seat.
The weather was perfect, an overflow crowd turned up, and soccer stars such as Chelsea’s Salomon Kalou, Rangers’ Maurice Edu, and the Red Bulls’ Mehdi Ballouchy combined with fish-out-of-water NBA players Danny Green (San Antonio), Elton Brand (Philadelphia) and Mike Dunleavy Jr. (Milwaukee) to put on an entertaining show—all for the benefit of underprivileged children worldwide.
• Not long after the pudgy, middle-aged ESPN basketball writer Marc Stein opened the scoring, turning in a cross from U.S. international Robbie Rogers, a solitary voice rose from the grandstand behind the north goal: “There’s only one Marc Stein. There’s only one Marc Stein.”
• In the first half, Rogers nutmegged Nash, but the Phoenix Suns guard wasn’t about to let him get away with it, expertly forearming Rogers to the turf. Here’s a clip, courtesy of Kick TV:
• For a man listed at 6′ 9″, the lumbering Philadelphia 76ers forward Brand did an unbelievable job of hiding on the field. He did his best to stay out of the fray, until it was unavoidable, much to the chagrin of Bucks forward Dunleavy:
• A few years back, Mavericks guard Jason Kidd played in the game, and while he was no Nash, he could knock it around a little bit. The NBA guys out last night had NO game. It was remarkable what a difference taking them out of their comfort zone made. They didn’t even look like athletes. At one point, a buddy of Green’s shouted from the sideline, “Come on DG! Get in there! Don’t be scared.” To which Green turned around and said, “I got nothing. It’s just not comfortable out here. Psychologically.” A few moments later, he added, “It’s not coming back. From when I was younger. My game is gone.”
• Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry, a mainstay of the event, was on hand and was introduced before kickoff, but he sat out the match. He’s recovering from a calf injury. Also present but sidelined by injury were U.S. and Bolton midfielder Stuart Holden, and New Jersey–born Italian international Giuseppe Rossi.
• Kalou always has a good time at this event, and does his best to entertain the crowd. Here he is doing his thing before passing to Brand, who … fluffs the layup:
This event, held every June at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, benefits the Steve Nash Foundation. Click here for more info.
Photo: Bowery Boogie.