|ESPN.com: Wayne Drehs Blog||[Print without images]|
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Bob Bradley mentioned in passing Monday that he pull out a few surprises to help inspire his team before its leaves leave for South Africa next week.An hour later, the first surprise showed up, when NBA legend Bill Russell walked through the Rentschler Field tunnel and onto the field to meet the team. Though Russell's Celtics were scheduled to host the Orlando Magic in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, Russell planned on spending Monday night eating dinner with the USMNT and talking to them about winning. Russell, the five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star, didn't speak to reporters Monday. But U.S. Soccer officials said he was an invited guest of Bradley's. The 6-foot-10 inch Russell looked quite comical standing next to Bradley, who barely came up to the basketball legend's neck. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, who played basketball in high school, said he was in awe meeting a man who won 11 championships in his 13-year career. Here's what Howard had to say.