Basketball Stars Nash, Bryant and Russell Get World Cup Kicks

Posted May 26th, 2010 at 5:46 pm (UTC-4)
1 comment

Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell recently attended a USA World Cup team practice at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.  Russell helped the Boston Celtics win 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons from 1956-1969.  The 76-year-old Russell is not the only basketball great getting some kicks from World Cup soccer.

Two future members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns and Kobe Bryant of the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, are both big football fans, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see one or both players in South Africa during the World Cup.

As I write this, Nash and Bryant are currently playing against each other in the NBA Western Conference finals.  If Nash decides to go to South Africa, it would be a homecoming of sorts.  He was born in Johannesburg, where the World Cup’s opening match and final will be held.  Nash describes himself as a passionate supporter of Tottenham in the English Premier League, and he’s expressed interest in owning a piece of the club.  His father, John, and brother, Martin, have both played professional soccer, and Nash has said he thinks he could have played professional football if he had focused on the sport.

For his part, Kobe Bryant was introduced to soccer as a young boy growing up in Italy, where his father played professional basketball.  Kobe says one of his boyhood dreams was playing for the Italian club AC Milan.  In recent years, Kobe has also shown support for the Spanish club Barcelona, and the Lakers star currently appears in a new Nike TV commercial promoting the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

One response to “Basketball Stars Nash, Bryant and Russell Get World Cup Kicks”

  1. Brian (USA) says:

    Very interesting. But the Nash and Bryant parts tell a lot about how top athletic talent in North America (Nash grew up in Vancouver, BC) too often gravitate toward other sports (the ones with more money and female fans). Although I wasn’t at that level of talent, I also left competitive soccer in high school for other sports. Tim Howard was a good basketball player, and opted for soccer, and is now a top 20 goalkeeper worldwide. But those examples are too few. We Americans need to pay high school girls to attend their schools’ soccer matches, a bit tongue in cheek, but I know it always motivated me!

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Sonny Side of Sports is an energetic and action-packed look at both world and African sports, broadcast on radio, TV and the Internet. Since the show’s creation in 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

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