Professional footballers have spent the majority of their lives focused on mastering their art but, away from the beautiful game, which other sports do they take an interest in?
The official Chelsea website continues to survey the squad to get a brief insight into their other sporting passions, with basketball winning out today…
‘As a child I was really into basketball, and I still really enjoy watching it nowadays. I played fairly regularly and I was quite good, but obviously football was my main sport. I don’t support a team in the NBA but I love watching it and my favourite player is Kobe Bryant.’
Kobe Bryant is one of the most recognisable players in NBA history and has spent his entire career representing the LA Lakers, a team he joined directly from high school.
While at the Lakers, Bryant has won the NBA championship on five occasions and has played in the All-Star game, which pits the best performers from across the NBA against each other, 15 times.
At the age of 34 he became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points, and he has also won Olympic gold with the USA in 2008 and 2012.
‘The other sport that I practiced when I was young was basketball. When I was 10 years I started to play for two or three years and after I made a decision to stop because I couldn’t play basketball and football.
‘I watch some games and I saw the NBA when they came here to London but I don’t watch too much on TV.
‘Some football clubs in Spain have a basketball team as well but my old club Osasuna wasn’t like that. In my town they do play pelota and I have played that and enjoyed it.’
Pelota is a fast-paced ball game especially popular in regions of northern Spain and southern France. It has several variations with different court configurations and hands, rackets or curved gloves or baskets used.