Showdown in Chinatown II
Old 06-25-2009, 01:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Showdown in Chinatown II

For the second year in a row, Steve Nash(notes) and Claudio Reyna orchestrated the collision of two sports worlds on a damp turf field in New York's Lower East Side. Afternoon rains ceased just in time for the so-called "Showdown in Chinatown," featuring professional soccer players like Thierry Henry, Adrian Mutu, Ryan Babel, and Edgar Davids, a smattering of NBA talent in Tony Parker(notes), Grant Hill(notes), and Chris Bosh(notes), and's Marc Stein, just for fun.

The set-up was impressive: a field fenced in on all sides, with fans pushing, climbing, and scaling benches to get a better view. Just inside the fence, the place was packed with children representing Nash's Football For Good foundation. Kids lined the length of the field and book-ended both baselines right up to the goals. It was so tight that a waist-high shot could either land on goal or stray wide and pick off some unfortunate pipsqueak nearby, which is what we in the business call a win-win situation.

Anyway, I'm a basketball person and I assume most of you are too, so let's get to the important stuff: which ballers could kick? Well, Grant Hill has clearly seen a soccer ball before. His game was the same measured, team-oriented stuff he's shown in his twilight on the hardwood. Hill kept the ball moving with teammates Nash and Babel, and generally knew where to be on the field.MORE

Parker and Nash, meanwhile, just about hung with the pros. Each maneuvered and passed with ease, even finding the net at times. I think Parker scored twice, while Nash nailed a penalty kick resulting from what I believe was a Marc Stein foul. (Side note: I got into a cab immediately following a game and read a report on the little TV in the backseat that Jamal Crawford(notes) had been traded. Whod filed the report? Marc Stein.)

The star of the evening, though, was Chris Bosh. The gawky, dreadlocked seven-footer was a crowd favorite from the moment he stepped onto the pitch, sticking out like a sore thumb amidst a throng of children and reporters. In game play, he traipsed around sheepishly, biting his lip and occasionally sticking out a leg to deter a shooter. Bosh whiffed headers, sliced one-timers, and repeatedly took opposing shots to the gut. (And we're talking Thierry Henrys shots here. Those'll knock the wind out of you.) He became a target for his teammates, too, as Reyna and Parker continuously fed him ill-fated lobs, much to the delight of the crowd. The big guy's soccer game is pretty raw, but he's got plenty of upside.

Speaking of upside, it's worth mentioning that this brief trip outdoors was by no means a vacation from pre-draft hysteria. At halftime, fans on my side of the field were treated to a surprise appearance by three projected first-rounders. Hasheem Thabeet, Jordan Hill, and Austin Daye all wandered out to midfield and held court in front of fans and reporters. Thabeet even snagged a ball and showed off his juggling skills, making the slightly shorter Bosh look even sillier in comparison.

All told, the match was a fine way to spend a Wednesday evening. Fans were treated to some decent soccer and an up-close look at basketball stars taken out of their element, with very mixed results.

If you're wondering who won, I really can't say. The score was never really announced, and both teams seemed pretty satisfied at the end. But hey, when big-name athletes play a game for a good cause, everybody wins. Even Chris Bosh.
Field report: Steve Nash's 'Showdown in Chinatown II' - Ball Don't Lie - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:45 PM   #2 (permalink)

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