Here’s a quick game for you: If you’re a Phoenix Suns fan, raise your hand. Now, if you think Steve Nash helped bring hope back to Suns fans when he signed with the team three years ago, lower your hand. I would imagine no one reading this still has their hand raised.

Steve Nash drives to the basket in a charity game held in Beijing. 

(NBAE Photos)

If you’ve watched even a portion of a game Phoenix has played, you know Nash leads the team by inspiring them, giving the team direction, taking responsibility when the need arises and by always finding a way to deliver the ball to the player who can do the most with it at that exact moment. And that gives Suns fans hope for a championship.

What some people may not realize is when Nash isn’t playing basketball he’s bringing that same leadership and hope to people around the world by delivering just what they need at that exact point in time. Earlier this summer, he was in Vancouver for his annual Steve Nash Charity Classic basketball game, which featured a number of NBA players including fellow Suns Leandro Barbosa, Alando Tucker and DJ Strawberry. He also helped open a new sports club, which not only helps those in Vancouver maintain a healthy lifestyle but it was also built to be as “eco-friendly” as possible.

For most players, holding a charity event, organizing a game with other NBA stars and opening a sports club may be enough for one offseason. But for the Suns’ MVP, it was just the beginning. This week he teamed up with Yao Ming to hold a charity auction and play a charity game in Beijing. According to one article about the event, “all proceeds will be used to set up Project Hope primary schools for poor children in western China, help Uygur girls attend school in the Kizilsu Kirghiz Prefecture of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, upgrade teaching facilities of schools for mentally disabled children in western China and promote the Special Olympics.”

The idea all started after a Suns-Rockets game this past season. Nash found Ming after the game and discussed the possibility of a charity game in China this summer. Since both players are represented by the same agency they were able to use those resources to bring the idea to fruition. Nash, Ming and several other NBA players traveled to China this week to participate. There was an auction and dinner the day before the charity game. And the game itself was completely sold out. According to several reports, the event raised seven million yuan (about $1 million). And it was the combined star power of both Yao and Steve that brought the people out to the event.

“I was talking with a friend of mine about the difficulties the children face there,” Nash told Suns.com. “I feel really fortunate that I am in a position where I was able to go to Yao Ming and ask him if he was interested in doing something over there. It’s an exciting opportunity to go to China and hopefully give thousands of kids an opportunity for an education that right now doesn’t exist.”

So in a few weeks when you’re reading about training camp, watching the public scrimmage and watching Steve Nash deliver exactly what the team needs during the game, remember that he not only brings hope of a championship to Phoenix. He does something even more important by bringing hope of a better life to people all over the world.