One of the greats of the basketball world, when away from the court and out of his LA Lakers jersey Kobe Bryant is a familiar face in the stands of football stadia around the globe watching, what he told FIFA.com, is his favourite sport.
The five-time NBA Champions and former Most Valuable Player is one of those cheering on some globes finest at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, having already attended the FIFA Confederation Cup Brazil 2013 last year.
We caught up with him ahead of Germany's impressive win over Portugal to talk about his love of football, whether he is collecting information for his beloved USA side and who he thinks could triumph in the Maracana on 13 July.
FIFA.com: Kobe, you visited the Confederations Cup last year and now you are at the World Cup in Brazil. You must be a huge football fan... Kobe Bryant: I am actually. I grew up in Italy. From the age from six to 14 I played soccer every day. It is actually my favourite sport.
Why did you choose to watch the game between Germany and Portugal? Are you a spy for the USA team?
For sure (laughs)! It has a lot to do with my travel and I wanted to see some great matches. I want to see the best teams and to see one of the best players. It is a great opportunity to be able to see that here.
How strong would you rate the USA?
The US team has unfortunately a very tough draw. But football in the US has really been picking up. I think our team is confident and they will respond the challenge.
Are you going to watch any USA matches as well?
Yes! We are trying to get in front of a huge screen and watch the games, and we are trying to coordinate our schedule so that we can go and watch them in person.
Who is your favourite for the Trophy?
Wow… It is hard to go against the home team in Brazil. It would be nice to see a Brazil versus Argentina final. Germany looks very, very strong too and it is hard to go against them as well.
What’s your opinion on the new NBA champions San Antonio Spurs?
Well deserved. It really is a lesson on how you get guys to play together if they share one goal. I am very happy for the Spurs. It is a motivation for us. Hopefully we can do the same next season.