Tuesday, June 5, 2007 Updated: June 12, 12:47 PM ET
Steve Nash kicks it with Thierry Henry
ESPN The Magazine
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article appears in the June 18 issue of ESPN The Magazine.In a special edition of Outtakes, Steve Nash -- playing the role of Dan Patrick -- rocks a mean crossover with Thierry Henry. They don't play with their feet.
SN: Does it bother you that North Americans call it soccer?
TH: No. You know what bothers me? That they call American football football. Because they throw the ball. They don't even play with their feet.
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SN: I wish we were as smart as the French. So what do you think they should call it?
SN: How about airball?
TH: Airball? I don't know. I just know it's weird to call it football.
SN: Who are your favorite athletes to watch?
TH: You, Tony Parker and Allen Iverson. Allen, because he always plays from the heart. And Tony has the same view you have on the court -- that soccer player's view.
SN: I'm excited to hear you say that.
TH: You see more than what is in front of you. I hear people watch you and say, "What a pass!" And I'm like, "What do you mean?" Because for me, it was obvious.
SN: Remember when I came to France for your game against Ukraine? At one point, Zizou played it to you, and you played it back. You hit it hard, and it was heading between his knee and his waist. He let the ball hit him, but the way he rotated his hips, it stopped on the grass. Didn't bounce, didn't do anything. He was like a martial artist. I can't even explain it.
TH: I know what you're talking about. To receive the ball that way you need to relax the right part of your body.
SN: I get what you're saying, but I still can't believe he did it.
SN: If there's a three-on-three match at Tony and Eva's wedding, whom do you want on your side?
TH: It would be Tony, Boris Diaw and Ronny Turiaf against Eva, my wife and me.
SN: If I know Boris, he'll be watching the girls.
TH: Exactly. And I can keep the ball away from the other two.
SN: Are there any French superheroes? You know, like Superman is American.
TH: Yeah. Tony.
SN: What country has the toughest, craziest fans?
TH: Turkey. They make the stadium feel like it's about to explode.
SN: And who has the funniest fans?
TH: England. It'll be minus-10 degrees Celsius, and they'll take their shirts off to show the writing on their bellies. And they always have funny songs to sing about the opposition.
SN: Who is the Bruce Bowen of the Premiership?
TH: It was Martin Keown, but he's retired. A lovely guy but just crazy.
SN: You played with him. I want to know who has his hands on you all the time.
TH: It's the little things -- stepping on your feet, running into you, an elbow when no one is looking. A guy will say, "Oh, that was an accident." But you know it wasn't.
SN: That's what I just experienced with Bruce, so I'm glad you understand.
TH: You never lose it, though. You care more about the team than yourself.
SN: But there comes a point when you want to punch the guy in the face.
TH: If I'd done everything I wanted to, my career would have been over after two games.