While LeBron was busy trying to carry his team to a NBA championship and 3-Peat, a former 3-Peat Champion, with 5 rings, was in Rio enjoying the sights and sounds of the FIFA World Cup and playing some soccer with some of the locals at the Nike Casa Fenomenal.
He also conducted an interview with Esportes.terra.com.br. The interview was translated so hopefully nothing was lost in translation – especially the part where Kobe says he’s 100%.
Terra: What do you think of Brazil?
Kobe Bryant: This is the second time I come. Came last summer. Brazil is a beautiful country, but what makes it even more beautiful is the passion of the Brazilian people for their country and their culture. There are so many beautiful things that arise Brazilians, like food, music, football. You have things that impress the rest of the world must be very proud.
Terra: How is your knee? Are you prepared for next season?
Kobe Bryant: I’m 100%.
Terra: And as the Los Angeles Lakers will fare next season?
Kobe Bryant: This season was tough. What’s life without a few challenges? You have to have some challenges. I’m training hard. The organization is working hard to ensure we have a great team. This is the best time, when people do not consider you favorite.
Terra: What the Lakers should do to do better?
Kobe Bryant: We’re there. We only have three players on the team last year with signed contracts, including me. We do not have a coach. So we’re starting from scratch. This is not to say that we should do better than last year, but we have to build the team for next season.
Terra: Who should be the Lakers coach?
Kobe Bryant: This is hard. Unfortunately, there are very few good technicians out there. I do not know why, but there are few good technicians, is a very short list. Let’s take some time and decide the correct person.
Terra: Cleveland and Miami will play in Rio de Janeiro this year. You would like the Lakers throw here in Brazil too?
Kobe Bryant: I’d love to. That sounds good. I will only play two more years, then it would be great if in my last year I came and played a match in Rio
Terra: What are you thinking of the World Cup soccer?
Kobe Bryant: Went to see Spain and the Netherlands in Salvador. I was shocked. They played very well. Van Persie and Robben were very aggressive. I expected to see a good game, but did not expect that Spain was dominated like that. I have many friends there and many play in one of my favorite teams, it is Barcelona.Pau Gasol (Lakers playing in) is a brother to me and is Spanish, but at the same time, the Netherlands is a Nike team. Spain is not. And Nike is like family to me.
Terra: How many games you want to see?
Kobe Bryant: I’ll see Brazil play against Mexico at the stadium in Fortaleza, and Portugal play against Germany.
Terra: You will watch the final at the Maracana?
Kobe Bryant: Unfortunately I can not, I have to return to the United States to train.
Terra: Who are you rooting for in the World Cup?
Kobe Bryant: The United States.
Terra: Do you think the United States has a chance of winning the Cup?
Kobe Bryant: I think the United States are more likely than people expect, but it is very difficult. We are in a very difficult group. But we will come out much better than most people expected.
Terra: What footballers do you like best?
Kobe Bryant: I know Messi long. I tend to root for him for some time. Cristiano Ronaldo also plays phenomenally. But I think Neymar is the next generation. He can take the sport to another level, because of his personality and instinctive way he plays. It can do wonders for the game globally.
Land: If Brazil is to play the final against Argentina, to whom you will twist?
Kobe Bryant: I think Brazil is going to the final against Argentina. In this case, I’ll cheer for Brazil. Messi is a friend, but Brazil has many good players, the Nike family.