Soccer and the NBA

Megastars galore from both basketball and football feature as FIFA spotlights the spellbinding links between the two sports.


Future NBA All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic – as well as Bronny James, the 19-year-old son of Lebron – are USC Trojans alumni. Paulo Wanchope also went to the University of Southern California after being lured to the US on a basketball scholarship. ‘The Cobra’ went on to star for Manchester City and Costa Rica, memorably bagging a brace against Germany in the opening match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™.


Kobe Bryant celebrated Italy conquering that tournament. He grew up in Italy, where his father Joe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant, a former NBA power forward, was playing basketball. Kobe fell in love with calcio and AC Milan there. ‘Black Mamba’ went on to win five NBA Championships, an MVP award, two Finals MVP awards and was, astonishingly, an 18-time All-Star. His tragic death in 2020 devastated the soccer world.


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