Clint Capela Tells Us About James Harden’s Growth And How Soccer Helped Him Improve His Game

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Before Clint Capela was dribbling with his hands in the NBA, he was dribbling a soccer ball with his feet in Switzerland. The Houston Rockets center was just a soccer player with above average height before he took up basketball and found his way into the NBA.

Capela has played three seasons with the Rockets since he was drafted with the 25th pick in the first round of the 2014 Draft Lottery, but he hasn’t forgotten his footy roots. Capela was heading to Cardiff, Wales, last week to watch the UEFA Champions League final with the NBA as part of its international outreach initiatives.

He took a moment to talk with us about his favorite soccer team, James Harden’s ascent at the point for the Rockets, and how Houston takes the next step in the postseason next year.

Thanks for chatting with us during the trip. Have you been to Wales before?

No, I’ve never been to Wales before and I’m looking forward to it. We’re going for the Champions league final, which is between Real Madrid and Juventus, and I’m really excited.
Have you been to a Champions League final before? What sort of atmosphere is that like?

Yeah, I went to a Final before — last year: Athlético Madrid and Real Madrid. Of course this is not Athlético Madrid so it will be way harder [for Real]. But I’m more excited for this one than last year.

(Ed. note: Real Madrid beat Juventus, 4-1)

So what’s your favorite club?

My favorite club is Arsenal.

Ah, same here. So they’re not going to be in the Champions League next season for the first time in a while. Arsene Wenger is coming back next year, are you excited about that or were you a #WengerOut guy like a lot of fans I’ve talked to in America?