It looks more and more like the plans to get Kobe Bryant playing in Italy are dead in the water. Unless some incentive is found for other teams in the league to re-arrange their schedules to accommodate Virtus Bologna — so the team can get more games in larger venues while Bryant is there — the plan will fall apart. And other teams are not eager to change things around. However, there is still a chance.
If it does come together, Kobe should not expect a warm welcome from his opponents.
Former USC guard Daniel Hacket plays for Pesaro in Italy and said he had a special welcome planned if he has to go up against the Lakers superstar.
“The only way to stop a player that good is with a hard foul and he knows that,” Hackett said. “I’ve got five fouls to commit and they’re going to be the hardest five fouls I’ve ever committed.”
Hackett also criticized speculation that Bologna will ask opposing clubs hosting Bryant’s away games to chip in a portion of ticket sales to help pay Bryant’s salary.
“I really hope Kobe doesn’t lower himself to this level for economic and commercial motives,” Hackett said, according to the Gazzetta. “To me, it would be a big disappointment to see him here under these circumstances, and a loss of respect for a player who is too big to dirty his hands in this league.”
If Kobe goes to Italy or anywhere else, it’s not about the salary. It’s about the challenge, it’s about the global marketing. It is not about the salary.
Hopefully this is all moot because the NBA labor negotiations Friday and through the weekend go well. And Kobe’s leaked plans were clearly meant to influence that negotiating room and the owners specifically.