By Delinda Lombardo on
On October 12, 2007, at Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho, Steve Nash hosted his inaugural Celebrity Roast to benefit the Steve Nash Foundation. More than 200 guests shelled out $1,500 each to attend a poolside dinner, celebrity shoot-out, a silent & live auction, and special concert by Grammy winner John Legend.
“Roast me, toast me,” said Nash before the event, “Our new platform in Phoenix is education, primarily for at-risk kids.” Nash, who was just named one of 2007’s Most Caring Athletes by USA WEEKEND, remains humble and sincere even when being roasted by his celebrity guests. Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky took to the stage and roasted his fellow Canadian. "In Canada, for basketball, Steve has done what Tiger Woods has done for golf in the US," praised Gretzky. Nash was also praised by Raja Bell, Sun great Eddie Johnson, his coaches- Dick Davey from Santa Clara University and Sun’s coach Mike D’Anotoni, and former Sun Dan Majerle, who was the first to arrive: “Steve is a great guy,” said Majerle. “He’s been called the greatest basketball player ever to come out of Canada. But can anybody name anybody else? Seriously?” asked Majerle. Suns teammate Raja Bell: “Phoenix has benefited tremendously from having him (Nash) here and will continue to do so,” Bell said. “He’s a tremendous asset to the city.”
Guests enjoyed a four-course poolside meal prepared by celebrated chef Charles Wiley while listening to Grammy Award winner John Legend perform. Legend set the ambiance with his smooth vocals and piano playing before taking part in the ‘celebrity shootout’. Hugo Boss president and CEO Tony Lucia offered to donate $200 for every basket made during the chaotic 45-seconds. NBA players and celeb’s lined up to take shots, but Legend was a bit hesitant. “I like to follow the games, especially during the play-offs,” said Legend. “But, I only occasionally play because I’m not that fast or that tall.” After a little prodding, Legend took the ball and contributed two of the 40 shots made, raising a total of $8,000 from Lucia.
Steve’s sister, Joann Nash, said that her brother is low-key. “He’s pretty goofy and has known to be a little funny after a few cocktails,” she said. “But, he’s never done anything too embarrassing.” Nash had a chance that evening, when Walt Brown, CEO of Diversified Partners, tried to entice someone to bid on the chance to see Suns star Shawn Marion and Nash jump in the pool. He told guests, “What happens at the Valley Ho stays at the Valley Ho.” Unfortunately, there were no takers.
Auction item included trips to Italy, the Masters Golf Tournament and a San Diego Chargers home game, but the most coveted item wasn’t listed as ‘up for bids’. During the silent auction, Jeff and Stacey Feinberg spontaneously bid $60,000 to have Nash sit with them during a break in the show, adding a delightful twist to very successful charity event.
Formed in 2001 and given charitable status in 2004, the Steve Nash Foundation is a 501©(3) organization dedicated to assisting underserved children in their health, personal development, education and enjoyment of life. Like its NBA MVP founder, the Foundation is fast becoming a leader in assists to a slightly shorter population.
Through grants to public service and nonprofit entities, the Foundation aims to grow health in kids by funding projects that provide services to children affected by poverty, illness, abuse, or neglect, and create opportunity for education, play, and empowerment. The Foundation focuses its resources on communities in Phoenix, Arizona, and British Columbia, Canada, but has recently begun to expand its scope to include areas of high need in other countries.
Copyright © 2007 Look to the Stars