Lionel Messi Rumors

Stephen Curry might be sidelined for the start of the second round of the playoffs, but the Golden State Warriors guard is still putting up big numbers — at least on social media. Recently, he surpassed 10 million followers on Instagram, and to commemorate the milestone, he was given a signed jersey from Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi, who wears the famed No. 10 for his country and for Barcelona.
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Is Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA or is the Barcelona superstar the Curry of football? That question was posed to Curry during an NBA international teleconference on Thursday and, perhaps surprisingly, Curry proved to be a major fan of the Argentine left-footer although he didn’t bite at who was the bigger global star. “I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.
Basketball players can also take advantage of the global nature of the sport. Bryant has made trips to China the past eight years for Nike and he is one of the brand’s main chips in its battle against Adidas in China. Bryant partnered with Turkish Airlines in 2010 and has been featured in commercials with global soccer star Lionel Messi. James’ Dunkin’ Donuts deal is for Asia only, and he entered into a new partnership with Chinese Internet services firm Tencent last year. These deals are not available to football and baseball players. Soccer players are the only team sport athletes that can compete with NBA players. The top 10 endorsers earned $120 million last year led by David Beckham, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who all made more than $20 million from their partners off the pitch. It also starts with the shoe deal for soccer’s biggest stars. Nike and Adidas pay high seven figures for the players above in their global competition. Messi and Ronaldo are stars in every part of the world and are not limited by geography when cutting endorsement deals. They also have bigger followings than any U.S. athlete. Ronaldo, Messi and Beckham have a combined 161 million Facebook fans. The top U.S. athlete is Bryant at 18 million.