* Sorry for the click-bait, but I couldn’t resist.
Last night, writing for The Players Tribune, and apparently as the editorial director, Kobe Bryant shared some of his thoughts as he reflected on yet another career achievement, that continues to let us know how passionate Kobe is about the game of soccer.
With the free throw above, Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan, to place himself 3rd on the NBA’s All-Time scoring list. In his piece for TPT, its appears that all of this almost didn’t happen. Kobe writes:
Zero. That’s the number of points I scored the entire summer while playing in Philadelphia’s Sonny Hill Future League when I was 12 years old. I didn’t score. My father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant and my uncle John “Chubby” Cox were Future League legends in their day. My father as a 6-10 point forward and my uncle as a 6-4 point guard.
I was putting my family to shame! I considered maybe just giving up basketball and just focusing on soccer. Here’s where my respect and admiration for MJ was forged.
The post from Kobe on TPT is basically a piece about his enormous respect for Mike Jordan and how looking up to him drove Kobe to practice harder, play harder and work harder to become the man he is today.
Great story but I also wanted to throw the soccer part up here to show what we are working for here at TOW.
What if it wasn’t MJ that he looked at as the guy he modeled his game after, but instead it was Ruud Gullit? What if Kobe was a Fiorentina supporter while living in Italy and the guy who kept him going was Roberto Baggio?
I team this up with something we wrote here a month ago about Odell Beckham Jr., the NY Giant who may have made the greatest catch in the history of the NFL, and how he was a youth soccer player with a chance to go to the academy but he instead chose American football over soccer.
(By the way, that subject has gotten a lot of run in the last day or so because TMZ picked up on it, but we wrote about a month ago, #jussayin #brushesimaginarydirtoffshoulder.)
I’m eager to see how stories like that will be told in 10 or 20 years when its, “I almost played basketball, but Clint Dempsey in Seattle made me want to play soccer.” Or, “I was going to sign up for spring football but I remember watching the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and wanting be a part of that.” Or, “When I was 11 walked into Nike and the new Mercurial Superfly’s were on display and I HAD TO get them because they were so fresh and I begged my mom for them, then I started playing on the weekends, then I tried out for my high school team, and the rest is history.” Or, “My dad used to take me to every game at Rio Tinto because we had season tickets and I always wanted to be out there just like Nick Rimando.”
The tide is shifting baby, and we are excited to be a part of it, because its not just the game that has an effect on that decision. As the holidays approach, think of giving gifts that have to do with the game on and off the pitch. Think about getting your nephew some fresh Tiempo’s. Or, some Samba’s. Or, a NYC FC scarf. Or, Bumpy Pitch gear. Or, soccer inspired posters and art from Etsy. Lets keep this thing moving forward.