Team Nash Beats Team Donovan in Star-Studded Steve Nash Showdown


by Deny Gallagher

In the twilight of another New York summer afternoon, some of the world’s biggest stars converged on the Sara D. Roosevelt Park for a pick-up soccer match.

This wasn’t just any regular pick-up game. Wednesday night marked the ninth annual Steve Nash Foundation “Showdown in Chinatown.”

Over the course of the last decade, Nash’s charity match has become a summer time tradition unlike any other. The affair brings together celebrities from sports and entertainment to raise money for the Steve Nash Foundation, which helps under-served children around the world improve their health, personal development, education, and quality of life.

The 2016 edition of this tournament pitted Team Nash up against Team Donovan, which was captained by none other than American soccer legend Landon Donovan.

The former LA Galaxy captain’s squad consisted of Rayo OKC’s Georgios Samaras, Italian international Guessepi Rossi, ESPN NBA Insider Marc Stein, former New York Red Bull and current KICK TV host Heath Pearce, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of the Brooklyn Nets, NYCFC VP of Ticketing & Fan Services Mike Quarino, and former New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford. St. John’s Men’s Basketball Coach and NBA Hall of Famer Chris Mullin managed Team Donovan.

On the other side there was Team Nash, who was managed by Ted Lasso, as portrayed by Saturday Night Live alum and movie star Jason Sudeikis. The infamous manager was mic’d up through the entire match, providing laughs for the full 60 minutes of play.

As for Team Nash’s roster, the side was an international who’s who of basketball and soccer stars. Match MVP and Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who put on a goalkeeping clinic Wednesday night, led the way for Team Nash. In addition, both Toronto Raptors star Bismack Biyombo and Kyle Martino of NBC Sports and U.S. Soccer fame scored four goals each. The likes of Hertha BSC’s Salomon Kalou, Francesco Valiani of FC Bari, and Massimo Gobbi of Chievo Verona rounded out Team Nash.

While the action on the field was compelling, it was hard to ignore the 6’ 9’’ presence of Kevin Durant hanging out just a few seats over from the bench of Team Nash. The NBA superstar drew a massive crowd of kids and media alike up on his entrance. The Oklahoma City Thunder forward was joined by Portland Trailblazers’ star C.J. McCollum.

Also of note was an appearance of ESPN NBA Front Office Insider Amin Elhassan and Around the Horn host and Fordham alum Tony Reali.

On the field, the action did not disappoint. The crowd sat inches from the action, enamored by the skill of the professional footballers, while enjoying the entertainment value of seeing the towering NBA stars goes for goal.

At the end of 60 minutes, Team Nash emerged victorious by a score of 11-5. The win marks Nash’s first in three years.