Inter’s Nicolo Barella: “I Wear Number 23 For LeBron James, Lukaku & Lautaro Also Big Basketball Fans”
Nicolo Barella has revealed basketball superstar LeBron James is the reason he wears the number 23 shirt at Inter.
Los Angeles Lakers star James is one of the greatest basketball players of all time and has almost always worn that number throughout his career.
Barella has never hidden his passion for basketball and was the latest guest on Sky Sport Italia’s show Basketball Conversation, drawing several points of comparison between basketball and football.
“Why do I wear 23? Because Lebron James inspires me,” the 24-year-old explained.
“For a while I played with 24, it was a difficult moment.
“At Inter the 23 was taken when I arrived, but I took it as soon as it was free.
“The 24, however, is the date of birth of my daughter.
“I had a little argument with my wife about the change of jersey number, but in the end she understood.
“Why am I so inspired by LeBron? What impresses me about him is the fact that he manages to change a team, bringing all his teammates to the highest level.
“This intrigued me, I’ve seen his whole career.
“Who is the LeBron James in football? In my opinion Cristiano Ronaldo, in him there is a lot of talent but also a lot of work, in addition to longevity and in every team they both make their desire to win available to the team.”
Barella then admitted he speaks on basketball with several of his Inter and Italian national team teammates.
“At Inter Romelu Lukaku is a great fan of basketball, like Achraf Hakimi and Lautaro Martinez.
“There are many of us who follow basketball, especially NBA.
“In the national team, on the other hand, there is Davide Calabria, Mattia Perin and also Giorgio Chiellini.”
The former Cagliari player also discussed NBA icon Allen Iverson.
“His shirt was one of the first that I had.
“Let’s say that seeing someone with that physique dominating among the giants was an important source of inspiration for me.
“In addition to his technical skills, his attitude impressed me.”
In conclusion, Barella discussed what he thinks is the equivalent to winning the NBA championship in football.
“Winning the NBA is even more important than winning a league title, without detracting from the Scudetto,” he admitted.
“Indeed, I hope to win one sooner or later.
“In my opinion the NBA is comparable to the Champions League, in both there are the best teams and the best players who win it.”
Barella has made 37 appearance across all competitions this season, in which he has scored three goals and provided a total of 10 assists for his teammates.