Kobe Bryant Says Playing Basketball in Italy Is ‘Very Possible’
While the NBA owners and players continue to negotiate a deal, one Los Angeles Lakers star has set his sights oversees.
According to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, Kobe Bryant said it was “very possible” he will play in Italy, his childhood home.
“It would be a dream for me,” Bryant said at a sponsor’s event in Milan Wednesday.
Italian team Virtus Bologna has been publicly courting the 13-time All-Star with a one-year contract worth $5 million. Virtus told the Associated Press that recent talks are focused on a $2.5 million offer for 10 games over 40 days from Oct. 9 to Nov. 16 with Bryant earning around $1.5 million after taxes.
The deal also allows Bryant to return to the Lakers immediately if the lockout ends. Bryant has received offers from other teams including Turkish club Besiktas and one in China, however the Laker has expressed most interest in Virtus.
“Italy is my home. It’s where my dream of playing in the NBA started,” Bryant told the Gazzetta.
The five-time NBA champion spent part of his youth in Italy when his father, Joe Bryant, played on five teams from 1984-91. The elder Bryant now coaches the Los Angeles Sparks in WNBA.
Bologna opens the Italian leagues against Roma on Oct. 9, the tentative start date for Bryant’s pending offer from Virtus. –Adelle Platon