Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns star trains with NY Red Bulls
Steve Nash, the Phoenix Suns point guard, perennial All Star and the NBA’s two time MVP is the raison d’etre for the Suns success. He is only the second foreign born (South Africa) player to be awarded the MVP title, the first being Hakeem Olajuwon, and is probably a future Hall of Famer inductee. The Suns are the most exciting team to watch with their high octane attack behind Nash’s unpredictable no look passes and clutch three point shooting. But when Nash is not shooting hoops he turns to his other passion: Soccer.
Nash has been sighted playing pick up soccer in New York’s Chinatown on Saturday mornings and works out with the NY Red Bulls team during their training season. He has also treated fans to a bit of his considerable soccer skills during the All Star break. He took off with friend Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks forward and fellow soccer aficianado for the World Cup in Germany to watch the matches and the final. Nash has also weighed in on the Beckham move to the LA Galaxy. Here is his intelligent response to all the hype.
There are many theories that pundits have come up with for Nash’s success but when you deconstruct them, they are all a subset of the omnibus theory: The soccer theory. And Nash is the first to acknowledge soccer’s advantage in developing his superb basketball skills.
Steve Nash said people tell him that he “looks like a soccer player playing basketball.” In a radio interview he talks about soccer and its similarities to basketball, ” the same angles, timing, and using space to your advantage.” There is truth in his words. Many foreign born NBA stars who come from strong soccer playing countries seem to show much more creativity than their American counterparts. We see it in Dirk Nowitzki and Manu Ginobili (who unfortunately seems to have picked up the less salubrious aspects of soccer) Nash feels that is so. `You see it a lot in international players the influence soccer has had.
“It allowed them to gain an advantage somewhere along the line. Whether it be agility or footwork, or passing angles and finding creative ways to get the ball either to the basket or to pass it to someone. I think there is something to be transferred from each sport.”
Nash is a die hard Tottenham supporter and grew up watching the Spurs with his father, a Tottenham native and himself a professional soccer player in the South African league before the Nash family migrated to Canada. Nash also comes from a family of soccer players with brother Martin Nash, a winger for the Vancouver Whitecaps and representing Canada (30 internationals). Sister Joanne was the captain of the University of Victoria soccer team. Nash attended St. Michaels University School, and as a junior was named British Columbia’s most valuable player in soccer. A spot on the Canadian national team was his for the taking before he discovered basketball.
Nash’s passion for soccer is not limited to playing pick up soccer and watching matches. He has indicated that he is interested in a future future offer for Tottenham. He is a wealthy man and his chunk of change would be welcome if a consortium were to bid for the Spurs. Plus, the common rap with all these buyers from across the pond taking over Premiership clubs is that they have no love or historical connection with the game, purely a financial motive. Nash’s love for soccer is not merely lip service. His interest in buying out of the Spurs might sound like a pipe dream to some but that is what many felt about Nash’s aspirations to be a future NBA star. He has always had the courage of his convictions even though it has earned him adverse controversy.
Check out Steve Nash’s mad soccer skills at the All Star break >>