VANCOUVER, B.C. – Steve Nash helped the Phoenix Suns beat the Golden State Warriors on Friday night. Then on Sunday, he led his team to a win in Los Angeles over the Clippers.
On Saturday, though, he traded in his sneakers for a scarf and his Suns uniform for a No. 13 Whitecaps FC jersey.
The lone day off in between NBA games made for a frantic schedule for the British Colombia native, but the opportunity to come watch the inaugural MLS match for Vancouver Whitecaps FC was one Nash simply couldn't pass up.
“To come today and see it sold out with all the fans in their colors jumping up and down and enjoying a beautiful sunny day here, it’s a dream,” Nash told reporters at halftime of the Whitecaps' 4-2 win over Toronto on Saturday.
The two-time NBA MVP – who grew up a ferry ride away in nearby Victoria – is a co-owner of the Whitecaps. But when the referee blew his whistle to kick off the new Whitecaps era, he became a fan, just like everyone else in the stands. In fact, he even emerged in the east grandstand among the crowd to pump up the fans before kickoff.
“To be honest, I just feel like a super fan,” said Nash. “I’ve been a fan of the Whitecaps since I was a little boy, as long as I can remember, so to see us back in the top flight in North America is exciting"
[inline_node:331451]“I don’t sit there thinking about owning the team," he added. "I sit there thinking about how we are going to build on this lead.”
As an owner, however, Nash must have been pleased with the first sample of his new investment. Not only did the team play well and earn a victory over their Canadian rivals, but the 22,592 fans packed into Empire Field created a spectacular atmosphere.
“We have a very smart soccer community here,” Nash said. “I think the fans really understand the game. This market demands it. The fans don’t want you to try and sell them just anything, they want you to put a good product on the field. They love the game as it is. … We’re trying to be as authentic as possible while letting the game speak for itself.”
Nash also pointed out the contributions of longtime Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot.
“He’s done such an unbelievable job of giving to soccer in our community and also across the country,” Nash said. “With all the things he’s done for us to get here today, it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t remember all the steps that he’s provided.”
A busy calendar will make it hard for Nash to catch more matches in the future, but he says that he intends to continue his role as a "super fan" to the best of his ability.
“I’ll be dying to get up as much as I can to see games,” he said. “It’ll be a very busy summer for me; summers are actually almost as busy as seasons. [But] if this is any advertisement for wanting to come back up, I want to be here every weekend.”