It’s always nice to see world-class athletes giving praise to one another, even if they do not even play the same sport. Kobe Bryant, the star for the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA, is the most recent man to sing his praises for the little magician that is Lionel Messi. Bryant has been an avid Barcelona supporter since Ronaldinho put on show after show at Camp Nou.
“[Messi] is the most incredible player I have ever seen,” Kobe told Sport.
“The truth is that it amazes me when the best player in the world continues inventing things that I have never seen before. He still has the ability to grow and improve as a player and he is very young.“
Asked to compare Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger’s comments that Messi was like a player from Playstation, Bryant believed that the Frenchman’s was pretty much speaking the truth.
"That’s a good way of putting it. Messi is a very creative player and you never know what he is going to do with the ball. He creates excitement for the fans every time he touches the ball.” I’m sure Bryant plays his fair share of FIFA 10 with his teammate and former FC Barcelona basketball player Pau Gasol. Although I’m sure they play Barça vs. Barça.
“I try to watch all of Barca’s matches on TV when I do not have to play my own games. For example, what he did last week against Arsenal in the Champions League was incredible.
“He is a phenomenal player, he competes for every ball, he plays harder than anyone, keeps the ball at his feet no matter what is going on around him. He is a very difficult player to defend because of his style of play.”
Kobe also explained why he’s a football (yes, he calls it football) fan:
“I grew up in Milan where my father played basketball and football was always a sport I was very passionate about.
“When I grew up, I always followed the best players and I really liked watching Ronaldinho when he played at Barca. Later, Messi’s eruption was spectacular. He is the most incredible player I have ever seen.”
Here’s a vintage clip of Bryant showing the team he supports some love: