Kobe Bryant: Will He Follow Ochocinco’s Path to MLS if There’s an NBA Lockout?

Kobe Bryant and Chad Ochocinco are two of the highest profile soccer fans in America.  

And with the NFL in the midst of a lockout, Ochocinco is trying to go from fan to player: He's currently trying out for Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer.  

Right now, he doesn't have the skill or experience to compete at such a high level, but he has physical tools that his potential teammates may already be jealous of.

As an NFL player, he's stronger than most soccer players.  And as a wide receiver, he may be as fast as anyone on the pitch.

Whether or not he makes the team long-term remains to be seen.  I for one, hope he does.  He'd bring great publicity to a game that has always struggled to attract mainstream American sports fans.

As you may have guessed from the title, this article isn't just about Chad Ochocinco.  

The NBA is on the precipice of its own offseason of labor negotiations.  If the league goes into a lockout, Kobe Bryant is another superstar who could bring much needed publicity to the MLS.

His love of the game as a fan is no secret.  He's been on the cover of ESPN the Magazine in an FC Barcelona jersey, and he was one of the most prominent celebrities present at the 2010 World Cup.

Bryant spent much of his childhood in Italy while his father was playing professional basketball.  He played a lot of soccer with the local children back then.

Even when he'd try to find a basketball court, he often ended up handling a ball with his feet instead of his hands.

When talking about his days on the pitch, Kobe has said, "They just put me in goal because I had these long arms and long legs, and I just had to stop everything that came my way."

When the Bryants moved back to America (where soccer is nowhere near as popular), Kobe focused on basketball and laid the foundation for one of the...

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