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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Tim Howard could have been a star basketball player if he hadn't become a world-class goalkeeper.

The 33-year-old has retained a love for the game that started in childhood and tonight he's backing his beloved New York Knicks to deliver a victory in the NBA's UK extravaganza.
USA international Howard grew up a Knicks fan and jumped at the rare opportunity to watch top quality, competitive action on British soil.
The Knicks take on the Detroit Pistons in a regular season match at the 02 on Thursday evening and Howard will be a guest of honour courtside.
"I'm tipping the Knicks, obviously," said Howard. "The Pistons are good and have some exciting young players but I have to back my boys. I'm going to be there Thursday cheering them on and I can't wait. To see my team playing in the UK will be a real thrill."
The NBA's visit to London has been shrouded in much hype and publicity, with basketball legends from around the world joining celebrities at the Thursday night showpiece.
"John Starks was always my favourite player," continued Howard, recalling the Knicks' flamboyant 1990s star. "He worked so hard and did so well to get to where he did. He's a true Knicks legend and I'd love to get the chance to meet him while he's in London for the game.
"I was very excited when I heard he was coming over."
The Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks go head-to-head at The O2 on January 17 as part of NBA London Live presented by adidas. Watch the game live on Sky Sports in HD and 3D. #NBALondon

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