'LeBron James the Ronaldo of basketball, Kobe Bryant the Messi' - NBA star Satoransky
NBA star Tomas Satoransky has labelled LeBron James as the “Cristiano Ronaldo of basketball” and compared Kobe Bryant to Lionel Messi.
The Washington Wizards point guard - who is in England for the NBA London Game 2019 against the New York Knicks – also revealed that he prefers Messi to Ronaldo having previously played for Barcelona’s basketball team earlier in his career.
“Am I Team Messi or Team Ronaldo? I’m Team Messi!,” Satoransky told Goal.
“If I had to name a ‘Messi of basketball’, it would be [former LA Lakers star] Kobe Bryant.
“I would probably call LeBron James more like a Cristiano Ronaldo because of how physically dominant he is.
“But I would say Messi is more like a Kobe Bryant.”
Satoransky, 27, played for Barcelona’s basketball team from 2014 to 2016, prior to joining the Wizards, and he shared a humorous story from that period regarding the Barca football side.
“We shared the same training centre with the football team but they were always quite hidden from us and from the media,” he explained.
“I remember the fans waiting for the Barcelona soccer players. We [the basketball players] would come along and the fans would be like: ‘We don’t want them!’ So they were waiting only for the soccer players.
“But it was like a real family there at Barcelona. Neymar and Pique are huge basketball fans. Pique was at a couple of games, too.”
Satoransky also commented on Wayne Rooney’s move to Washington DC to play for D.C. United.
The Czech giant expressed his hope that the NBA London Game can have the same positive impact on basketball in the UK as Rooney has had on soccer in the U.S.
“I always pay attention to footballers who come over from Europe and I followed the career of Wayne Rooney when he was in the Premier League, before he came to Washington,” he stated.
“It’s great for MLS and American soccer fans that they get to watch players like Rooney. It’s become more and more fashionable for such stars since David Beckham played for the LA Galaxy.
“[To help basketball grow] is why we have had an NBA game in London for so many years in a row. They love basketball in the UK and their league is developing well.
“The UK fans are great and when you see all the stars from the Premier League sitting courtside for the game, it’s clear it has a big impact. A lot of my friends from Europe are trying to come over to watch the game, too.”
The game between the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks will take place at The 02 in London on Thursday evening.