Believe it or not, throughout history, a number of all-star athletes have made names for themselves in more than one sport. The most well-known of these is arguably Michael Jordan. I don't need to tell any NBA fan the details of Jordan's mythical career in basketball - six championship rings and a worldwide following as well as being the bar against which we still hold NBA stars today - and just as many people know the story of his brief attempt to break into Major League Baseball, signing a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox in 1994. Many other athletes in the last few decades have achieved similar feats, often being made to choose one sport to pursue professionally while excelling in two or more.
Michael Jordan smiles during a game with the minor league Scottsdale Scorpions (1993)
Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Troy Aikman was drafted by the New York Mets out of high school in 1985. Tom Brady was drafted by the now defunct Montreal Expos baseball team before choosing to go to school. Colin Kaepernick was drafted by the Chicago Cubs - albeit in the 43rd round, eventually choosing football as his priority. Miami Dolphins' quarterback and movie star, Dan Marino was offered a spot by the Kansas City Royals. Deion Sanders, who went to the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the 1989 draft, spent 9 years in Major League Baseball, earning the distinction of being the only player in history to play in both a World Series and a Super Bowl. NFL legend Terry Bradshaw has actually been a national record holder in javelin!
Bottom line: when you're athletic, you're athletic!
While it's not hard to understand how athletes could possibly be good at more than one sport, it's also true that the each athlete tends to leave their mark on only the sport that they truly excel at. There is one exception, however, and that's the main story of the upcoming Showdown event in New York, led by the Steve Nash Foundation.
Steve Nash, an NBA all-star in his own right, made a choice as a young man to pursue basketball over his other athletic passion: soccer. Nash's family background is English, so of course soccer was a constant presence in his home growing up and he has been quoted expressing his interest in being a part-owner of his lifelong favourite team, the Tottenham Hotspurs. He also had a hand in bringing MLS to Vancouver in the form of the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club. Nash's younger brother, Martin, played professionally for the Whitecaps for a time and has also made appearances for the Canadian national soccer team while their sister, Joann, captained the women's soccer team at the University of Victoria.
Talk about an athletic family!
Nash, battling it out with former football star, Claudio Rayna at 2011's Chinatown Showdown
The Steve Nash Foundation and the Showdown event share a mandate and slogan: "growing health in kids."
Steve Nash and his charitable foundation have been putting on the Showdown event in NY since 2008, with this week marking the 10th year of the event. The event itself features sponsors and brand partners as well as some of the biggest names in professional soccer and basketball going head to head in a friendly competition for soccer pitch supremacy, open to absolutely anyone in the city to come out and watch. The camaraderie and sportsmanship make for a great show and, most importantly, raise a lot of much-needed money for worthwhile causes. Notable luminaries of the event include Chris Bosh and Kyrie Irving from the NBA and soccer stars Massimo Ambrosini and Landon Donovan. This years' event is sure to hold some surprises, too, as Nash and his foundation continue to build every year.
While the event is free to attend for anyone who wants to watch the fun, it also encourages individuals, brands and companies to contribute to the cause by offering incentives to donation. Brands can choose from a number of different ways to get in front of the camera, the players and the world, while individuals can do everything from score VIP seating for the family to actually play with Nash and the rest on the pitch, with all proceeds going to the Steve Nash Foundation in support of kids in need in both the United States and Canada.
Nash (top row, 2nd from left) and the rest of the All Star Showdown participants (2013)
The Steve Nash Foundations' Showdown is going down this Wednesday, June 21st in Sara D. Roosevelt Park in the Little Italy neighborhood. The best part of the entire thing? For anyone who simply wants to watch this legendary event go down, it's 100% free. Except maybe for parking - that's never free in New York!