Five-time NBA champion and two-time MVP Kobe Bryant has said Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez joining LA Galaxy would be “beautiful” for Major League Soccer.
Ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid forward Chicharito is expected to complete a move to the Galaxy in January, where he will attempt to fill the vacuum left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s departure to AC Milan.
Bryant, who spent his entire 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers and is a shareholder at MLS’ official sports drink sponsor Bodyarmor, said he is excited by the prospect of Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer moving to Los Angeles.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Byrant told TUDN. “For MLS and for Los Angeles it is important to have very competitive stars.
“For MLS to have a great name like Chicharito It is very important for the game.”
Bryant also said he thinks the signing of Hernandez highlights that MLS should no longer be seen a retirement home for top stars in Europe, adding: “When the league first started, we [MLS] were looking at bringing starts that were at the end of their careers.
“Now you are looking at MLS going and bringing stars in their prime. That changes the game drastically.”
Bryant also credits David Beckham’s arrival to LA Galaxy in 2007 as the moment he first started to follow MLS closely.
“When David first came out here, I came down and watched him play,” Bryant told reporters. “I was able to kind of gauge what the energy was at that time, and it was still relatively unfamiliar to the U.S. market.
“Then to be able to fast-forward now and to see the energy that has kind of been put behind MLS, and the amount of support that’s being put behind MLS, it’s, I wouldn’t say, surprising, because I’ve always appreciated the game and what a beautiful game it is and knew eventually America would catch on.”