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NBA Star Uses His Other Passion to Stay in Shape

Some NBA players take part of the summer off, some just lift weights in the gym, but Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, a two-time NBA MVP, spends his summers playing soccer in New York City. "It's better for me than just running lines," Nash said. "I don't want to play a lot of basketball until September's over, or I'll burn myself out. I just shoot, work out and play soccer."

On Tuesday, Nash and his rec league teammates met up with Claudio Reyna and few other New York Red Bulls to play pickup in Central Park's Sheep Meadow. Of course, as any New York-area player knows, you can't play soccer or any other sport that could tear up the grass on the Sheep Meadow; the game was soon broken up by park officials. "Soccer is not loved," shouted one of the basketball star's teammates, as the two groups moved their game to a nearby plot of dirt.

Of course, at that point, in stepped a Red Bulls official to forbid the team's players from playing on such a surface. Nash and his teammates continued to play, however, while Reyna and the rest watched. "He's got the vision like on the court," the former U.S. captain said. "When you have vision in soccer, you can connect the pass. It's the same idea. You can see that from playing basketball, and also from growing up playing soccer, he understands the game." He's also a great fan: Nash travels to Europe several times a year to see professional games, particularly those involving Tottenham Hotspur, his favorite team.

Read the whole story at New York Times »

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