In Tryggvi Hlinason’s experience, there’s only one event that can cause a traffic jam in his native country of Iceland: when the men’s soccer team plays.

“You should just see Iceland when we score a goal,” Hlinsason said. “You can’t even imagine the people. It’s insane. It’s insane.”

Hlinason grew up in the Nordic island nation of about 330,000 people. He was raised on a farm in a remote province called Þingeyjarsveit. He knows first-hand what a powerful force the sport can be.

Hlinason will be watching when Iceland kicks off World Cup group play against Argentina on Saturday. The 20-year-old is attempting to carve out a career as a professional athlete himself, only not in the sport his compatriots are hooked on. The 7-foot-1, 260-pound big man is improbably trying to climb the rungs of professional basketball.

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Christian Clark
Author

Christian Clark is an Arlington, Texas, native who covers the Denver Nuggets for BSN Denver. Education: I graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism in December 2014 with an emphasis in print and digital news. Career: My work has been featured in the Fort Worth-Star Telegram, The Oklahoman and Columbia Missourian, and online at TexasFootball.com and Denverite.com. I came aboard at BSN Denver in November. Most memorable sports moment: Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals. The finest sports book I’ve ever read: Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger. One sports movie I can’t live without: Tin Cup, do not @ me Most memorable experience as a reporter: Covering the Missouri football team’s boycott in 2015. It led to University of Missouri system president Tim Wolfe’s resignation and had so many other ripple effects. The sport that started it all: Basketball. My sports-watching memories kick in with those early-2000s Dallas Mavericks teams. They had bad hair and scored a lot of points. Shout-out to Nellie Ball.