There seems to be no end in sight to the NBA lockout and for Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, that’s a sign to keep his overseas options opened.
It seemed Bryant’s options were running out after talks with the Turkish club Besiktas fizzled this summer and then last month the China Basketball Association instituted rules that NBA players must commit to a year in its league.
But Bryant told the Associated Press in Singapore this weekend that he isn’t sure there will be 2011–12 NBA season and that he hasn’t ruled out playing overseas. Bryant was in Singapore working a youth basketball clinic.
“I could,” Bryant said to the AP about looking at his overseas options for the upcoming season. “I’m playing abroad right now.”
Apparently the teams in the CBA want the 33-year-old Bryant’s presence so badly that at least one team is exploring letting him play in exhibition games since the rules don’t prohibit that. For Bryant, the chance to play in China, or anywhere abroad, is probably as much about expanding his global marketing reach as it about playing basketball.
Bryant already has a big name in foreign countries, but his status would grow even more if the fans actually had a chance to see him play.
The timing just seems right with the impasse that currently exists between the NBA owners and players. The two sides broke off meetings early last week with little progress and no new negotiating sessions scheduled, which gives pause to the idea that the 2011–12 season could be delayed and eventually canceled.
(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)