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NBA Stars Show Off Soccer Skills at Showdown in Chinatown

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

LOWER EAST SIDE — NBA stars took to the pitch Wednesday to compete in the fourth annual "Showdown in Chinatown" charitable soccer match organized by two-time league MVP Steve Nash.

The eight-on-eight contest at Sara D. Roosevelt Park featured some of the game's best players, including Tony Parker, Brandon Jennings and Grant Hill.

Phoenix Suns big man Marcin "The Polish Hammer" Gortat minded the net for the white team, trying to stop consistent pressure from Nash and match MVP Giuseppe Rossi of Spanish club Villareal.

"He's a killer, man," Rossi said of Gortat's 6-foot-11 frame.

But it was the actual footballers, including French national star Patrick Vieira and West Ham United striker Demba Ba, who provided the most flash.

"We all think we can play soccer, but today you saw real soccer players," Hill said after the game, saving some compliments for his teammate on both the field and hardwood.

"I told Gortat I was going to get the footage of the game and give it to the Polish national team," he joked.

The event benefits the Steve Nash Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides services to children in need, and the Claudio Reyna Foundation, which supports underprivileged youth through education and sports.