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‘The Convert’ Copa90, Heineken US and Players' Tribune help NBA star embrace soccer culture in new film

Tim Hardaway Jr of the NBA gets his deep dive into soccer fan culture in new Copa90/TPT series / Copa90

Soccer media outlet Copa90 has launched ‘The Convert’, a two-part original film with The Players' Tribune (TPT) and Heineken, featuring NBA guard-forward Tim Hardaway, Jr starring as the titular character.

The film has the five-year NBA veteran taking a day-long dive into soccer fan culture as he takes in a match-day experience between International Champions Cup opponents Real Madrid and AS Roma. During the series, he’s joined by Heath Pearce, former USMNT and MLS All-Star, who helped the baller acclimate to the game from the fan’s perspective.

Hardaway Jr also interacted with both teams' respective fan clubs in the city, and got to meet various players from both sides of the pitch.

The unique partnership is the first time the two outlets have collaborated. Although both platforms have been disruptors in the sports media space in recent years, Copa90’s fan-centered focus and The Players' Tribune’s coverage from the athlete’s perspective allowed for the synergy.

Copa90’s editorial director Burke Cherrie said to The Drum: “At Copa90, we believe soccer has the power to transcend culture, society and identity like nothing else. We’re thrilled to partner with Heineken on the series and the opportunity to collaborate with TPT brings a whole new dimension to the film.”

Bimal Kapadia, head of global strategy and development for TPT, said: “The series provides fans with an intimate, behind-the scenes look of a matchday through the eyes of a ‘convert,’ using TPT’s trademark storytelling format.

Heineken is a regular partner of the soccer site, and Rob Ryder, brand manager for Heineken added: “We’re thrilled to work with our partners at Copa90 on this new and unique content series — and excited to convert NBA star Tim Hardaway Jr into a fan of the beautiful game."

As basketball players can’t touch their ball with their feet — and soccer players can’t touch the ball with their hands — it takes some time for Hardaway to learn and appreciate the sport. But Kapadia says of the end result: “It’s a natural crossover between two of the world’s most popular sports.”