May 25, 2010, 11:36 AM EST
Basketball is a sport America dominates on the global stage. Soccer, not so much.
But this year’s American team enters the World Cup with high hopes — a soft group draw makes the chance to advance out of group play very possible. Thing is, in soccer, America is still learning how to win at the highest levels.
If you want to learn about winning, there is nobody better to talk to than Bill Russell. So the legendary Celtics center was invited and came out to Team USA practice on Monday, as the Associated Press reported.
“It’s pretty special to see him,” said goalkeeper Tim Howard, a high school basketball star at North Brunswick High School in New Jersey. “To be an ultimate great — we work so hard and feel you’ve got a little bit of success — and then you look at a guy like him and it’s like, how the heck do you do that?”
Howard was hoping to meet Russell after practice. Russell helped the Celtics win 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons from 1956-69.
“It’s pretty awesome to be around those type of people,” Howard said.
Hopefully a little of that winning magic can rub off on the Americans, who open the cup in a couple weeks with a match against England and Wayne Rooney.
- Craig Sager makes long-awaited return to TNT after 11-month battle with leukemia 0
- Report: JaVale McGee close to signing with Celtics 25
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Wednesday: Masked Russell Westbrook just needs a cape 17
- George Karl: Knicks could use a strong point guard next to Carmelo Anthony 13
- Ray Allen announces he will not play this season 14
- Pelicans’ Anthony Davis a gametime decision Wednesday vs. Pistons 1
- Derek Fisher questions ‘character and integrity’ of players after Knicks lose to Kings by 38 points 29
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday: The Hawks clinched playoff spot in front of Josh Smith 6