2010 FIFA World Cup: Garnett and Drogba, Friends Rooting for Each Other

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIJune 10, 2010

LONDON - OCTOBER 10:  Chelsea footballer Didier Drogba shakes hands with Kevin Garnett (R) following the buzzer during NBA Europe Live 2007 Tour match between the Boston Celtics and the Minnesota Timberwolves at the O2 Arena on October 10, 2007 in London, England.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
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Kevin Garnett and Diedier Drogba are both in the midst of a battle within their own sport.

For Garnett, the future Hall-Of-Fame star of the Boston Celtics, it is trying to help the Celtics come from behind in the NBA Finals. The Celtics trail the Lakers by 2-1 in the best of seven series.

For Drogba, it is trying to pull off one of the most amazing feats in the history of world football, by attempting to lead the Ivory Coast into the World Cup in a couple days with a broken arm.

Drogba broke the arm in a warm-up game against Japan, and had surgery last weekend. He rejoined the team on Monday for training. It is still not known if he'll be able to go or not.

Ivory Coast has their first game of the World Cup on Tuesday of next week against Portugal.

Garnett and the Celtics resume their NBA Finals series on Thursday night in Boston against the Lakers.

The two men, separated by thousands of miles in their quests, have something in common besides trying to win world championship's in their sport; they are good friends.

KG and Didier became friends a few years ago. Garnett, who had played soccer in high school, had been an admirer of Drogba's, and made a point to meet the Chelsea striker when they were training in Los Angeles.

In an interview with The Sun a couple years ago, KG explained his first attempt at meeting Drogba.

"I saw Chelsea in L.A. and wanted to watch them train, but they had this crazy guy Mourinho in charge and he wanted them focused on practice with no one around. So I tried to sneak in through a fence, until a security guard chased me off."

Garnett finally met Drogba and the two hit it off. Earlier this year they interviewed each other for The Sun .

At one point in the interview Garnett said, "I can't wait for the World Cup, the passion for football around the world is just so crazy."

"That's right," Drogba said. "When I was younger, we were playing football in the streets. We would find something, anything, that looked like a ball and play five on five. We'd just play and play. It's crazy, the passion for football in places like that."

KG asked Didier how he thought the Ivory Coast would do at the World Cup.

"The World Cup will be tough," Drogba answered, "You saw the draw? We have Brazil, Portugal and North Korea.. We have a difficult job against Brazil and Portugal. But, in Africa, I think we can do something."

Garnett admitted to Drogba that he sits in front of his TV watching Chelsea play, wearing his Chelsea jersey and scarf.

After a couple uncharacteristically poor games in the first two games of the NBA Finals, the 15 year veteran Garnett had a huge game in the third game of the series, but it wasn't enough as the Celtics lost to fall behind in the series. They have a must win in Boston on Thursday.

For the 32-year-old Drogba, playing in the World Cup is still uncertain. He probably won't know until Monday or Tuesday (the day of the Portugal game) if he'll be able to give it a go.

Didier is fully aware of how important this game his in his homeland.

"The expectation back home is really high, " he told BBC World Service recently. "Most of our players play for big teams and have won things with big teams. But for the country we have won nothing."

The Ivory Coast, put into an extremely difficult position—with or without the injury to Drogba—by being grouped with Brazil and Portugal, begin their World Cup journey next week.

One can only imagine Kevin Garnett's reaction if he sees his friend running onto the pitch with his broken arm in a sling, ready to give it a go.

Ironically, the last thing Garnett told Drogba in their January interview was, "I hope our paths cross one day soon. Until then, stay healthy!"