Anyone familiar with Kobe Bryant’s mythology is aware that he spent a significant amount of his childhood in Italy while his father played ball there. He speaks fluent Italian, and has demonstrated a very real love of the country in past interviews. It turns out he’s so receptive to the country, he’s amiable to the idea of playing in Italy should the NBA lockout keep players out.
From the Los Angeles Times:
“I wouldn’t be opposed to it,” he said Friday. “You know how much I love Italy. I grew up there.”
“I’m not locked into anywhere,” he said, smiling. “I’m locked out. You’ve just got to play it by ear.”
Bryant joins a cavalcade of stars that have said the same over the last few months, including Dirk Nowitzki. The option is attractive, although the real elements of how such an arrangement would be met due to relationships not only with FIBA but other European basketball organizations and the NBA have yet to be determined.
Bryant would unquestionably be able to draw near what his current salary is, since the payoff would be similarly massive for an investor. Bryant is the biggest global star in the NBA, more than even LeBron James, and his ability to create revenue as such would dwarf any other available talent, even as age erodes his game slightly, bit by bit.
But the biggest advantage for Bryant, most likely? He’d be able to continue doing what he loves: destroying other basketball players.