NBA star Howard relishes haka opportunity

08:18, Jun 14 2011

Towering NBA basketball star Dwight Howard may not know much about rugby, but he showed a passion for the haka when he issued the challenge with the New Zealand under-20 rugby team in Italy.

The 2.11 metre Orlando Magic centre, on a European tour with sponsors adidas, was filmed in an All Blacks jersey joining in with the Baby Blacks as they performed the Ka Mate haka in a gym in Treviso.

The 25-year-old struggled at times to keep time with his young companions, but tackled the actions with enthusiasm and was clearly pumped up by the experience.

The clip has proved popular after it posted was on video sharing websites.

The under-20 side opened their defence of the junior world championship with a 64-7 win over hosts Italy on Saturday and play Wales tomorrow.

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NZPA