Back of the Nets! Didier Drogba and Petr Cech reveal their love for Jordan, Bryant and all things NBA
One's usually happier when he's hitting the back of one and the other when he's keeping shots out of them, but recently Didier Drogba and Petr Cech have been getting excited about a different kind of Net altogether.
The two Chelsea stars are both big basketball fans, as they've revealed ahead of next month's historic NBA match-up between the New Jersey Nets and Toronto Raptors at London's O2 Arena…
How big a basketball fan are you and how did you get into it?
Petr Cech: Pretty big. I played basketball as a kid at school and really enjoyed it. I started watching basketball mainly because of Michael Jordan, who was my favourite player, and then got involved in basketball more because of him.
Didier Drogba: I am a big basketball fan, I used to follow the NBA games when Michael Jordan was on fire.
Who are your favourite players and teams and why is that?
Petr Cech: As I said before, Michael Jordan. My favourite team used to be Chicago Bulls but when Jordan retired and the team changed I became a big fan of LA Lakers, so my favourite player now would be Kobe Bryant.
Didier Drogba: It is difficult to pick one, because for me there was Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. So I was following them when it was the Dream Team. It is difficult, but for me it would be Michael Jordan.
Which two teams do you think will be in the NBA Finals this year?
Petr Cech: I think the Lakers and Boston Celtics are both doing well, I think they can easily repeat the finals from last year. I think it will be interesting for everybody, so let's see who's going to win.
Didier Drogba: I would love to see the same finals again - Lakers against Celtics - because these are great, great games and you will see amazing finishing, you will see amazing atmosphere and experience.
And who do you think is going win?
Petr Cech: My favourite team, I hope. I will go with Lakers.
Who do you think will be the NBA MVP this season?
Petr Cech: I think are a few contenders for the award, but if Lakers win the championship, I think Kobe Bryant will be awarded the best player for the season because he is the main player and a key player for them.
Didier Drogba: Well, I think if it's between Celtics and Lakers, I would say Kobe and Kevin Garnett. They are really good players and competitors.
Who is the one NBA player you would like to meet?
Petr Cech: All of them, if I had to choose, I would choose Michael Jordan. I've never had the chance to meet him in person so I would say him.
Didier Drogba: I had the chance to meet Garnett and Kobe, but I would love to meet Michael Jordan.
Who will you be supporting at the O2 in March, New Jersey or Toronto?
Petr Cech: I think I will be supporting New Jersey, definitely. I like Sasha Vujacic, he is one of the guys I will be watching.
Didier Drogba: I like the way New Jersey is playing at the moment. Yeah, I would go for New Jersey.
Do you actually play any basketball?
Petr Cech: Not nowadays, because obviously with my football career it's not easy to go and play basketball and all my friends who I used to play with are not in England. If I still have a chance, I take a basketball and take a few shots. I used to enjoy it a lot when I was younger, it was one of the sports I practiced a lot, along with football, because I enjoyed it.
Didier Drogba: It's difficult, but hopefully I will have time to play some more.
If you had to compare your football game to an NBA player's game, who would it be?
Petr Cech: It is really difficult to choose. I'd choose probably Shaquille O'Neal, because it is very important to defend the area around the basket, I would say him.
Didier Drogba: I would love to say Kobe Bryant as a competitor and as a winner, because he always wants to win. Yeah, Kobe Bryant.
And finally are you planning to attend any of the basketball games at the 2012 Olympics?
Petr Cech: Well I would love to. Definitely if I have a chance to go to see as many games as possible, I will go.
Didier Drogba: Yeah of course. It will be fantastic. I don't know if Ivory Coast will qualify but if even if they don't, I will follow the basketball because I love it, I just love it.
The New Jersey Nets will make basketball history when they play the Toronto Raptors at the London O2 Arena on Friday 4 March and Saturday 5 March 2011 - the NBA's first ever regular season games in Europe. Tickets are available at www.theo2.co.uk