Kobe Bryant is undoubtedly one of the greatest basketball players of all time. The Los Angeles Lakers star has spent 18 or so years of his life dedicated to the game and trying to become not the next Michael Jordan but the only Kobe Bryant.
So it came as a bit of a shock, that when interviewed by FIFA.com, the 35-year old admitted that basketball is not even his favourite sport, preferring the natural grass of a soccer field to the hardwood in an NBA arena.
Kobe at the Cup
The Black Mamba has been spotted at some World Cup matches in Brazil this past week and was shown meeting the much-maligned FIFA chief Sepp Blatter during the game between Portugal and Germany that the German's ended up winning 4-0.
In his interview Bryant joked that he had been spying on the two sides for USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who are in the same group - the Group of Death - at the tournament. He also let it be known that he wanted to watch the greatest players possible in the small amount of time he gets in the off-season. Prior to seeing Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller, Kobe had prime seats to watch on as Holland completely dismantled reigning champions Spain 5-1 with braces from Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben in Salvador.
The USA's chances in Brazil
Despite being born in Italy, Bryant is a staunch supporter of his adopted nation of the United States. Kobe was optimistic about the US's chances in Group G, despite the uphill task that they will face getting past the aforementioned Portugal and Germany. But according to Bryant the team has a lot of fight and grit which could see them do well.
And despite the Lakers' stars packed schedule, he seems to be intent on watching the Stars and Stripes follow up their breath-taking win against Ghana. Bryant revealed that if he is not able to actually watch the games in person then he will be finding the biggest TV at his disposal and cheer the side on from the seat of his pants.
Kobe the soccer star?
A few years ago the Black Mamba revealed his soccer talents and that had things been different he could perhaps have been a professional football player instead of the NBA star we know today.
"I would have moments of doing something crazy that really wasn't done on purpose. I'd pull off a nice move that was unintentional. I started out at goalkeeper because my arms were so long and I didn't really have a good feel at handling the ball. As I practiced and progressed, they moved me to midfield."
It wasn't until moving to Philadelphia at age 13 did Bryant actually start to concentrate on basketball over football.
You can check out some of his soccer skills here...
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