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Players proposed barnstorming tour of China gains Kobe

Jul 2, 2011, 5:01 PM EDT

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We told you the other day how the Wasserman Media Group was proposing a barnstorming tour of China next fall by NBA players if the lockout is still dragging out.

The Los Angeles Times tells us Kobe Bryant’s agent Rob Pelinka is thinking the same thing — and that would give a tour real star power as Kobe is the biggest basketball name in China. Frankly, two barnstorming tours doesn’t make a lot of sense, Wasserman and Pelinka working together on one big one does.

Bryant and his agent Rob Pelinka are trying to put together the tour, said Minnesota Timberwolves rookie forward Derrick Williams, who also is represented by Pelinka. Williams said several clients of Pelinka’s agency, the Landmark Sports Agency, could be involved in the tour.

Kobe is the biggest star in China because — like his game — he worked at it. He’s been making big annual trips there for years touring the country, he has even set up a separate Kobe-funded charity to work just in China, and much more. Plus, he has rings (five of them) which is something valued culturally. (It’s what hold’s LeBron back.)

My guess is that if the start of the NBA season is delayed for any length of time, you will see these series of games happen. While agents don’t generally play well with each other, when their interests are aligned — as they would be here — the different sides will come together and if they do it they have the skills and connections to pull this off. In what form and where are in flux right now, but it might well happen.

  1. htimsr40 - Jul 2, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    The players need an alternative to the NBA. We saw what happened when the ABA existed and the effect it had on NBA salaries. With real competition, not restricted free agency, salaries soared. Abdul-Jabbar made less in the NBA than the ABA signed Artis Gilmore for. Much less. Gilmore signed for ten years at $2.5M per year average in 1974. Kareem’s salary didn’t reach $1M until 1980.

    And it isn’t just basketball. We saw the effects of a rival league on the NFL, first with the AFL and then with the USFL. Eventually the NFL takes over these leagues, but not before they are forced to adjust their own salaries to match the free market value of star players.

    The NBAPA and NFLPA should be looking for alternative investors who might be interested in funding rival pro leagues, signing established stars to launch leagues while the incumbent leagues suffer through lockouts. The Player Associations themselves should consider player-owned leagues. Why give so much of the money away to third party owners whose interests are contrary to the players?

  2. goforthanddie - Jul 2, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    “Kobe is the biggest star in China because — like his game — he worked at it.”

    I’m willing to bet Yao Ming thinks differently.

    • goforthanddie - Jul 3, 2011 at 12:33 AM

      Amazing how many pinheads think Kobe’s bigger than Yao in CHINA.

      • duhgrate1 - Jul 3, 2011 at 1:34 AM

        Amazing how many pinheads think Yao’s bigger than Kobe in CHINA. Kobe has had the highest selling jersey in China for the past 4 years. Your boy Yao is not even in the Top 10. Like the article says, China (like every other country) loves winners, Yao is not that.

      • denverdude7 - Jul 3, 2011 at 12:27 PM

        Bron-Bron is the biggest star in the NBA…just ask him.

      • goforthanddie - Jul 3, 2011 at 2:15 PM

        duhgrate1: There’s more to life than jersey sales dingus.

  3. denverdude7 - Jul 3, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    I’m all for the NBA stars playing in China if the lockout extends into the 2011-12 season. With any luck maybe they will stay there…permanently !!!

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