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Kobe Bryant says again he could finish career in Europe

Aug 6, 2012, 10:40 AM EST

US basketball player Kobe Bryant reacts Getty Images

This is not a new refrain, but it doesn’t make it any more likely.

Kobe Bryant has said again he might choose to end his career with a couple years in Europe after the NBA. This time he said it to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports while both were in London for the Olympics.

“It would be natural for me to go do it. It wouldn’t be a stretch at all. I grew up here….

“You’d have to look at the market and what’s going on in terms of the level of basketball being played,” Bryant said. “I understand there’s a high level of competitive basketball in Turkey now. They might have the best league in Europe. Spain has obviously been one of the top leagues for a long time. And Italy is a place that’s dear in my heart, I grew up there, but the level is not where it used to be. When I was growing up over there, that was the best league in Europe.”

There is some logic to this. As Kobe said, he spent his formative years (years of elementary school and junior high) in Italy as his father played professionally there. He speaks Italian and Spanish and is very comfortable on the European circuit. He even talks of owning a soccer team.

Also, Kobe is still the biggest of the international brands among NBA players. LeBron James is the better player now — and you could argue Kevin Durant and others have passed him on the court at this moment — but nobody is an international star like Kobe.

But that’s one of he reasons I don’t think he would do it — right now there is a real mystique because Europeans only see him on television and in ads. To bring his declining game — still at a very high level, but where will his knees let it be in two years after his NBA contract runs out? Or a couple years after that if he re-signs? — could kill some of that mystery, but they would only see a shadow of the former Kobe.

Maybe that would be enough. Maybe. But my guess is Kobe rides off into the sunset after his NBA career ends. Whenever that is.

  1. thomaskouns - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    It’s funny that the media puts so much stock in what Kobe says. When he’s not throwing teammates under the bus and disrupting team chemistry (look in the mirror Kobe you had a .430 field goal percentage last year), he’s making proclamations that either don’t make sense or are negotiating tactics like going to the Clippers and threatening to play the entire year oversees last year.

    If you have followed Bryant’s career you know he makes threats like this frequently as a negotiating tool. This one is likely designed to get him an extension with the Lakers. How many star players in NBA history who could have gotten paid more in the US have gone to Europe instead?

    • loungefly74 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      i don’t see it that way. i think this particular subject came up only because of the olympics. its a “throw-away” question. just like they probably would ask him who the best “Batman” was after he just saw Dark Knight Rises, for example. i’m not putting any stock in this at all. he will play his entire career in the NBA.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:42 AM

        Good one! +1 for the analogy. I feel the same way about it being a “throw away” question/answer.

  2. muir6 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Maybe he knows that his persoNal life may be changing and he may need some extra coin and some space down the road. A week or two of European woman in the Olympic village could have options spinning around in Mambas head

  3. jattsoorma - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Please, Kobe can get tail anywhere he goes.

  4. therealhtj - Aug 6, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    It looks like his career is ending in Europe right now. Have you been watching him in the Olympics? He’s like the fat girl that got invited to go to the party with the group of supermodels.

    • 24thesho - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:35 AM

      That comment of your is……………, weak. Kobe has been playing with dislocated fingers and knee injuries for the past 2 seasons (at least). Stop hatin; and stop being mad at Kobe because you shoot bricks in your gym.

  5. muir6 - Aug 6, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Not without his girl lookin over his shoulder

  6. paulhargis53 - Aug 6, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    He can get tail anywhere…..

    It’s just a question if its consensual or not.

    • cosanostra71 - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:00 AM

      Yeah, you don’t hate the Lakers.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:52 AM

      Bad form pauly, bad form.

    • 24thesho - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:39 AM

      In Colorado, it was definitely consensual, btw.

  7. jimeejohnson - Aug 6, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Kobe didn’t mention China. He must not know the Chinese gave Italians their first pasta.

  8. rjlink1 - Aug 6, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    I actually think it’s entirely plausible that Kobe heads to Europe after his current contract runs out, or certainly later. Remember, this guy LOVES to play ball. When he can’t dominate in the NBA anymore, why not continue to dominate in a good European league? Especially if there’s no opportunity to win a 6th NBA ring, or if he’s already won a 6th ring.

  9. nycalldayz - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    okayyyyyy

  10. tannethrill - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    It’s not about hiding his deteriorating game from over seas but from here. He’ll still look great in comparison.

    My guess is he parlays his final mobile years into a league ownership deal in Italy. Get a piece of the league, play for a few years and jack the stock due to his own play.

    He’ll attract others and reestablish the league he remembers as dominant in a place he sounds to dearly miss.

    Jordan buys a team post playing. Kobe’s going to buy a league and one up him.

  11. maddogg911 - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Kobe is just earning his marketing dollars.

  12. paulhargis53 - Aug 8, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    24. Because you were there, right?

    You believe what he said in the police report because you worship sports players.

    Pathetic.

    • loungefly74 - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      oh boy…this again? damn…it’s not even worth going into this with you….and frankly, don’t feel like doing a rebuttal on something several years old now…

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