The third Showdown in Chinatown was our sunniest yet — a 90F bluebird day (on order from the City of New York Parks & Recreation) was a welcome change from last year (thank goodness for that vitaminwater!). Our players started arriving on Tuesday morning when Simone Motta rolled into NYC with Simone Sandri, and kept on arriving — last minute additions of Nate I’ve-Never-Played-Soccer-Before-Now Robinson and Youri Oh-I-Don’t-Think-I’ll-Play Djorkaeff, along with players we actually knew would be there: Raja Bell, Danleigh Borman, Jared Dudley, Jeremy Hall, Giovanni Iovine, Brandon Jennings, Anthony LaPaglia, Motta, Steve, Tony Parker, Mike “Q” Quadrino, Claudio Reyna, Giuseppe Rossi, Sandri Marc Stein, Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Richie Williams.
But first, there were a few others things to take care of — the Friends of the Steve Nash Foundation Brunch was kindly delayed (only slightly) to accommodate Steve’s deep-hearted need to see his England team’s match play in South Africa. As friends gathered at Phebe’s, Steve watched the clock and England’s victory before heading north to great conversation with the Foundation’s key supporters. Then it was off to the Showdown . . . .
As the Claudio Reyna Foundation’s clinics were going strong (with the kids’ appetites appeased with a healthy lunch from Whole Foods), the guys got acquainted and met with select members of the media with an incredible Penthouse view of New York City surrounding them — as they outfitted themselves in Nike Soccer uniforms and debated between turf shoe and cleat, they had an opportunity to sample EA Sports’ FIFA Soccer 11 incarnation (and prove that Tony Parker is a much better gamer than Stephen) and get awed by special guest David Blaine. He crashed Steve’s Iconoclasts interview, and blew our minds with a seemingly innocent deck of cards . . . . [Editor’s note: want the card that Steve Nash and David Blaine tricked out with their autographs? Watch for it and other Showdown gear on the auction block, coming soon].
After checking out the new Steve Nash Foundation Flip for Good cameras (available soon) and some general tomfoolery, it was time to head to the pitch — players were once again greeted by the friendliest mob in media history, with throngs of reporters, fans and Claudio Reyna Foundation kids clinic attendees surrounding them. Then, the field was cleared and after a few brief words from team captains Reyna and Nash, and the arrival (fresh from the Broadway stage) of Lend Me A Tenor’s Anthony LaPaglia, the game began.
Thousands looked on while professional basketball players and futballers had a go on the Nike Field in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. While some have been quick to label Jared Dudley the game’s worst (see below), he was the game’s best at celebrating, scaling the chain-link to the delight of bleacher sitters after his goal (Nate did well in the celebration game, too, pulling off Showdown’s first ever backflip). The cheers from ICAP’s section (and some Mission Skincare product) kept the heat on the field from sapping the game’s energy, and a few well-timed blasts from a vuvuzela cracked up kids on the sideline. The young pups on loan from the Red Bulls seemed to be toying with the old men on the field, but in the end, Steve and Youri’s blue team defeated Claudio, Tony Parker, Brandon Jennings and the orangemen. Power League: need some new players?
With the help of the kindest Irishman in New York City — scratch that, in the world — the players grabbed a quick-and-healthy dinner and some refreshing pints, and dashed back to the hotel to get ready for the night’s main event: the Evening of Showdown. As Kiss N’ Fly opened their doors to support the Steve Nash Foundation, our guests enjoyed the auctioneer stylings of Rod taylor and Santo D’Asaro and libations from voli, OneHope, Heineken, and Macallan. Razorgator brought out a winner from their facebook promotion with Steve, DJ Ani kept the place hot, and our friends at Monster made sure he could hear it all.
The Showdown would not be possible without the support of our players, our sponsors, our fans, our bosses at Level Productions, the NYPD and Parks Department, and some incredible volunteers: among others, the unstoppable Cassidy Kersten and Chris Mallory of the Phoenix Suns; pressers Kristina Andersen and Ilana Nunn of BDA Sports; Natasha Ahuja, fresh from her junior year at Santa Clara (go Broncos!); Taryn Wolf, who bolted from the Showdown to get to South Africa in time for some likely less exciting matches; Andrew Federman, whose photos will keep us smiling in Showdown memories until next June; Eric, who braved a veritable herd of women to make Showdown go; and Josh Sternie-Federman who reined in children and adults alike and reminded everyone to sit down together and eat berries.
SEE YOU NEXT JUNE!
For sponsor, player and press inquiries, please contact:
The Steve Nash Foundation