two-point conversion to beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl (SI, Jan. 29) and his
subsequent on-field proposal to cheerleader Chrissy Popadics, one might have
thought Boise State's Ian Johnson (below), 20, had fulfilled his sports-related
dreams. But no. After the game the running back revealed that he longed to chat
up Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba (right), 28, a star striker for Chelsea. Talking
to Drogba, Johnson said, "would be huge ... as big as winning this
game." So, being a nice guy, SI's Arash Markazi arranged for a
transatlantic phone call between the two, and because he's not all that nice,
he listened in.
It's my brother's fault I became a Chelsea fan. We played this video game, and
he would pick a small team like Mali or Wales. So I picked Ivory Coast. The
only person I ever scored with was Drogba, Drogba, Drogba. I was like,
"Wow, this guy's awesome." I started following Ivory Coast, and my
brother says, "You know, Drogba plays for a team in Europe called
Chelsea." That was the year you won [the English Premier League].
You mentioned Ivory Coast! I didn't know we had fans in America.
You guys are gaining fans. Boise has more Drogba fans because of my brother and
me. I've got an Ivory Coast Drogba jersey, and people say, "Who's
that?" I'm the cheerleader.
I'd like to invite you to London to see one of our games in the Champions
League—if you have time.
The top team, in the top league. I think I could find time.
I also want to say congratulations for what you have achieved. I know that it
is not easy when you are young, but the most important thing is to believe in
I appreciate that. I heard you guys are playing the Galaxy in L.A. this summer.
I'm from L.A.
We can meet up there too! So what's next for you?
Well, I don't know if you heard, but [he tells him about proposing to his
fianc�e on national TV after the Fiesta Bowl].