Josh Kroenke was once an aspiring basketball player before becoming a director at Arsenal and his hopes of making it professional were quashed by NBA legend LeBron James while at University
In his youth, Kroenke played the sport for the University of Missouri and that was often in front of 30,000 spectators.
However, his career was cut short by four-time NBA champion LeBron James, who was only 14 but superior to Kroenke, five years his senior.
Having been selected to play on a team which represented the best high school seniors on a tour of Europe, the Gunners chief says he overheard on-looking NBA scouts pick out James, who has stake in Liverpool, as the best of the bunch.
“I’d guess the eighth grader was a lot better than anything we were doing. I can live with that,” Kroenke admitted in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“There are moments in time for every athlete where you realise either how gifted you might be or that there is a different level of athleticism that someone else has been blessed with.”
Now Kroenke sits in the Emirates boardroom and has revealed Arsenal will not be sold any time soon, despite fans’ dismay at the recent running of the club which has seen them drift further away from their glory days.
The 41-year-old, son of owner Stan, says the hierarchy in north London have received “many, many other offers behind the scenes” on top of the publicised bid from Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek.
“Lots of parties, all over the world [have made offers],” Kroenke revealed.
“Arsenal Football Club is a global thing and there are people paying attention all over the world and there’s people who want to get involved in this club all over the world.
“The club is not for sale. We’re just getting started.”
In a separate rare interview with Sky Sports, Kroenke was asked about affairs on the pitch, with Mikel Arteta ‘s team on a nine-game unbeaten streak and their six summer signings – costing over £150million combined – all heavily involved.
Kroenke says Arsenal are just getting started
“I wouldn’t say [I feel] vindicated [by the transfer strategy in the summer],” he explained. “I’d say I’m more driven to keep pushing forward.
“Whenever you start to taste a little bit of progress or success – even though I don’t think we’ve had any success yet, but we are starting to feel a little bit of the progress that has been made behind the scenes – that only drives you even harder.
“I feel that from Mikel around the training ground, I feel that around the first-team squad and I also feel it throughout the rest of the club.”
On the search for success, Kroenke added: “Do we feel good about where we are? We feel better about where we are, we don’t feel good. Our fans still deserve more.