NBA's Nash: Henry signing would be "a coup" for NY

Basketball star excited about possibility of French striker in MLS

Making his rounds in the media center on Saturday before New York hosted D.C. United, Red Bulls communications manager Brian Tsao informed the press that Steve Nash would be making a halftime appearance to answer questions.

A reporter looked up and said “Steve Nash? From the Phoenix Suns?”

Tsao smirked and replied, “Yes, Steve Nash, the two-time MVP. Yes.”

It should come as no surprise that Nash would be at the game. The Phoenix point guard hosts a celebrity soccer tournament billed as the “Showdown in Chinatown” every year in New York to raise money for charity. His one brother plays in the USSF-D2 and is on the Canadian national team. Nash’s father played professional soccer in England. Oh, and Nash is an investor with the expansion MLS side Vancouver, set to enter the league next year.

Yes, that Steve Nash. He is also a friend of Thierry Henry, who is expected to be unveiled this Thursday as the Red Bulls’ second designated player signing.

“I’m thrilled we’re going to be seeing him on a daily basis,” Nash said.

In Nash’s view, Henry is going to welcome the change of scenery that New York will provide. Having played in England and Spain and won a World Cup and a Champions League title, Nash thinks Henry is ready for a new challenge. The fact that the French striker is still in his prime doesn’t hurt, either.

“He’s still capable of playing at the highest level,” Nash said.

Nash called Henry “a world-class star” and praised the Red Bulls for the signing and their investment in the league. He also gave a glowing review of Red Bull Arena, which he called “fantastic.”

Vancouver will be going through their own stadium upgrade, which Nash said should be complete by next summer. He said the new facility will be “very soccer-friendly.”

He still kicks the soccer ball around plenty, but Nash is, of course, known for being one of the most dominant point guards of his generation on the hardcourt. The recent flurry of signings and transactions in the NBA has left him analyzing which teams have gotten ahead. The Knicks were after the game’s biggest star, LeBron James, but failed to land him in free agency.

Which led MLSSoccer.com to ask Nash the question, who would have been the bigger get for New York: James, had he signed for the Knicks, or Henry coming to the Red Bulls?

“Thierry of course,” Nash said with a laugh. “He has a lot of titles.”

Nash fully endorses Henry coming to the Red Bulls.

“A big coup for Red Bull,” he said.

Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.