Kobe Bryant is the star of a new Nike Italy ad campaign, featuring a host of soccer stars, as the man brought in to help put an end to vigilantes overtaking the city of Milan. In this meeting of sports and cultures the Black Mamba is joined by soccer stars Wesley Sneijder, Gennaro Gattuso, Alberto Aquilani, Giampaolo Pazzini, Marco Materazzi and Claudio Marchisio.
Bryant is an ardent soccer fan, and featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine in 2009 talking about his second passion. Bryant is also a supporter of Milan, as he revealed in a CNN interview while doing charity work in South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The Italian commercial also allows the LA Lakers star to demonstrate his proficiency in the Italian language.
The 1970's crime-flick inspired film, titled Milano Kalibro Kobe, is narrated by acclaimed Italian director Enzo G. Castellari.
The entertaining clip shows criminals running wild stealing basketballs and soccer balls. With all their efforts failing, the Milan police call in the MVP to solve the crisis. In the final scene Bryant goes head-to-head with Sneijder in a duel of basketball versus soccer skills.
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Kobe Bryant suffered a broken nose during Sunday's All-Star-Game at the hands of the Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade. Though the future Hall of Famer played through the Western Conference's 152-149 victory over the East in Orlando, it is unclear whether Bryant will play in the Lakers game against Minnesota on Wednesday.
Bryant's opponent in the commercial's climax, Sneijder, is experiencing a difficult season with his Italian club Inter. The soccer giants currently sit in seventh place in Serie A and lost the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie 1-0 to Marseille.
Sneijder is expected to feature for the Netherlands in their exhibition game against England at Wembley on Wednesday night.