Kobe Bryant stars in soccer commercial for Panini collectibles

Kobe Bryant is featured in a commercial for Panini, a sports and entertainment collectibles company.

Emphasizing his love of soccer growing up in Italy before he played basketball, Bryant says in the commercial, “Before I was a baller, I was a baller.”

The Lakers All-Star guard also made a cameo in a recent Nike soccer commercial

Bryant told GQ magazine his favorite soccer team is A.C. Milan.

“Milan has always been my favorite team, and it’s always in my heart,” Bryant said. “I keep a Milan shirt and scarf in my locker room so I can look at them every day,” he said in the magazine’s May issue.


Bryant isn’t the only Laker fond of soccer. Veteran point guard Steve Nash is a part owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer.

As quoted in GQ, Nash is particularly fond of Tottenham Hotspur.

“My whole family is Tottenham fans,” he said. “I still remember in ’81 waking up at 5 a.m. to put on my two-tone striped blue kit with my dad to watch the FA Cup.”

Both Bryant and Nash had early starts to their off-seasons, with the Lakers winning only 27 games in 2013-14.

Bryant was recently cleared to begin workouts after missing most of the season with a knee issue. Nash is hoping to resolve the nerve irritation in his back that limited him to just 15 games.


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Twitter: @EricPincus