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Thursday , Jul , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant playing football after Man United and Barcelona in DC

Unlike Lakers teammate Ron Artest, who is considering testing out his skills on a dance floor, Kobe Bryant is taking his soccer talents to Washington, D.C., where he has agreed to play in a celebrity soccer game Sunday.

Former soccer great Mia Hamm and her husband, former Dodgers player Nomar Garciaparra, are playing host to their fourth annual Soccer Challenge that benefits the Mia Hamm Foundation & Children’s National Medical Center.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Tough act to follow.

On Saturday, Barcelona will face Manchester United in a rematch of the Champions League Final in Washington DC.

On Sunday, basketball great Kobe Bryant will try for some ‘footie’ magic in the nation’s capital by playing in Mia Hamm’s exhibition match for charity.

Bryant, of course, grew up in Europe following ‘The Beautiful Game’. He’s good friends with Ronaldhino, but cheers for the Barcelona Barca and is in awe of Lionel Messi.

Bottom line: Bryant won’t look out of place on Sunday -at least against celebrities.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Sunday , Jun , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Ricky Rubio has leverage over Minnesota Timberwolves

Ricky Rubio is promising NBA fans they'll get to see his razzle-dazzle, but not before the 2011-12 season -- and not necessarily with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the highly rated prospect said he won't leave Spanish club Barcelona before his NBA opt-out clause comes up after next season. The Timberwolves remain his team of choice, as long as they make improvements following a season where they finished 15-67, the second-worst record in the league.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Something must have been lost in the translation from Spanish to English –like showing modesty or being humble.

This is what the Minnesota Timberwolves must be hoping for, after their Spanish point guard prospect, Ricky Rubio, recently held court with the media in Europe.

In a recent interview, the Barcelona club star spouted off: he basically told the Timberwolves to improve or lose his services; described himself as a ‘colourful, attractive, spectacular basketball player’; and compared himself to being ‘in the mold of Magic Johnson and Steve Nash’. 

Under normal circumstances, a team should immediately consider cutting ties with such a prospect.

However, these aren’t normal circumstances in Minnesota. Even with two young point guards and other developing pieces, the club only won 15 games last year and can’t sell tickets, luxury suites, or merchandise.

Frankly, the Timberwolves –since trading Kevin Garnett – have become irrelevant.

Rubio would change this. Instantly. His razzle-dazzle game will put butts in seats. And suddenly, the Timberwolves will have an identity, presence, and following at home and throughout the world.

All of this equals one thing: money.

Rubio, of course, knows this. He also knows he has leverage and will hold it over Minnesota executive David Kahn and the entire franchise.

If the Timberwolves don’t give him everything he wants, he plays in Europe and forces a trade. And even if the Timberwolves do give him everything he wants, the 19 year old could still force a trade to a larger market with a more competitive team.

With such pull, Rubio has little need for modesty or humility.

Got thoughts on Rubio? Got thoughts on the state of the Wolves?