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Steve Nash’s annual “Showdown in Chinatown” is becoming a perennial summer tradition in New York City, as the charity soccer match featuring NBA and international soccer stars drew quite a crowd on a beautiful evening in Lower Manhattan. Although notable alumni such as Salmon Kalou and Thierry Henry have (or at least might have) taken to the international stage in South Africa, a few old hands joined Nash. Claudia Reyna and Tony Parker as were included among Nash’s regular-season teammates Raja Bell and Jared Dudley, not to mention rising Italian-American star Giuseppe Rossi. However, it was the infamous Nate Robinson, a last-minute addition to the roster who stole the show, playing to the crowd and celebrating a few goals with his over-the-top brand of showmanship. Of course, Nate’s enthusiasm was in keeping with the spirit of the friendly match: certainly not World Cup caliber play by any means, but definitely reflective of soccer’s growing popularity in the national consciousness.
In fact, this year’s Showdown occurred on the same day as a major victory by the U.S. National Team, though Wednesday’ epic stoppage-time victory over Algeria was arguably more signifcant than Donovan & co.’s incredible upset over Spain, the same day of last year’s Showdown last summer. Coincidence? Only time will tell.
Photography: Stephen Wordie