Dude traveled by helicopter to welcome LA’s newest soccer star to town: “As much as he admires Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona, and as close a friend as he is of David Beckham, the NBA’s most genuine soccer lover places Marta right up there on the same pedestal. ‘I’m a fan, really,’ Bryant said. ‘I don’t feel like Kobe the basketball player at all. I’m just as excited as anybody here. Watching her play, the way that she plays with such passion, such energy, such a love for the game, and so much creativity, I found myself being glued to the TV set. There were three things I wanted to accomplish last summer when I was in Beijing. One was to win a gold medal. Two was to watch Michael Phelps make history. The third was to watch Marta play in person. I was fortunate enough to accomplish all three. I’m beyond excited that she’s here.’”