Steve Nash and Phoenix Suns return to Canada to play Canada's NBA team



    TORONTO, Jan. 17 /CNW/ - On Sunday, January 18, 2009 Steve Nash and the
Phoenix Suns will make their only trip to Air Canada Centre to take on the
Toronto Raptors at 12:30 p.m. EST (CBC). The Phoenix Suns come into Toronto
with a 22-15 record, second place in the pacific division and eighth place in
the western conference. Nash recently agreed to serve on Canada Basketball's
new Council of Excellence, a nine-member group developed to support the
national team program's strategic objectives. As well, he is the face of
Canada Basketball's Steve Nash Youth Basketball Program that was successfully
launched across the country in 2007.
    Nash, 33, is only the second point guard (Magic Johnson) to win multiple
NBA MVP trophies. A 12-year veteran, this Victoria, B.C. native averaged 16.9
ppg, 11.1 apg, 3.5 rpg, 50% FG, 47% 3FG and 91% FT in 34.3 mpg last year, and
finished the regular season with 6,788 career assists, ranked 15th in NBA
history.
    "The basketball nation is always excited when Steve comes to Toronto,"
says Wayne Parrish, Executive Director and CEO of Canada Basketball. "He is a
fantastic ambassador for the sport not only in Canada, but around the world,
with his leadership and talent on the court. Yet Steve's power transcends the
hardwood with his passion and commitment to improve lives and build
communities, particularly for youth through the Steve Nash Youth Basketball
program."
    Nash, a former Canadian National Team player standout, has donned his
national colours 99 times beginning in 1991, when he was part of the squad
that won a silver medal at the World University Games. Most recently, Nash led
Canada in the 2003 FIBA America Olympic Qualifying Tournament, winning MVP
honours. In 2005, he received Canada Basketball's highest award, the Dr. James
Naismith Award of Excellence.
    Prior to the game on January 17th, Nash will host an evening in support
of the Steve Nash Foundation's initiative with Athletes for Africa, bringing
programming to war-affected children in northern Uganda. More information on
the Steve Nash Foundation is at stevenash.org.
    Nash's NBA hometown of Phoenix plays host for the 2009 NBA All-Star
weekend running from February 13-15. Canadian fans are encouraged to play an
active role in supporting Canada's teams, Canada Basketball and Toronto
Raptors, by voting for the 2009 NBA All-Stars. Current and previous Canadian
Men's National Team members on the ballot include Steve Nash (Victoria, BC)
and Sam Dalembert (Montreal, QC). Nash has already been named to six previous
NBA All-Star teams.
    The Toronto Raptors have four players on the official ballot: Chris Bosh;
Jose Calderon; Jermaine O'Neal and Anthony Parker. The 2009 NBA All-Star Game
will take place on Sunday, February 15, 2009 at US Airways Center, and the
event will air live on TSN and in more than 200 countries and territories
worldwide.
    To vote for Bosh, Calderon, Dalembert, Nash, O'Neal or Parker online,
Fans can vote at every NBA arena, in 20 languages on NBA.com, and on T-Mobile
phones or wap.nba.com for any wireless carrier.

    Canada Basketball (www.basketball.ca) is a private, not-for-profit
corporation that is committed to the growth of the sport in Canada. Canada
Basketball is focused on the development and preparation of Canada's national
teams for the Olympic, Pan American and FISU Games as well as the FIBA World
Championships. The aspiration of Canada Basketball is to instill the pride,
commitment, passion and respect that Canadians personify into the development
of basketball across the country and internationally.

    Steve Nash Youth Basketball is a national grassroots youth basketball
initiative designed for children/youth aged 5 - 13 years old, to develop
fundamental skills, sportsmanship and a love for the game of basketball. The
program provides access and opportunities while encouraging participation in
young athletes, creating a passion and exposing them to the values, qualities
and skills required to succeed in basketball and in life.





For further information:

For further information: please contact: Tanya Phillipp, Manager,
Marketing & Events, Canada Basketball, Tel: (416) 614-8037 x219, e-mail:
tphillipps@basketball.ca, www.basketball.ca; Jamie Deans, Media Relations,
Toronto Raptors Basketball Club, Tel: (416) 815-5445, e-mail:
jdeans@torontoraptors.com, www.raptors.com

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