Kobe Bryant could see himself finishing career in China, Italy
By Jason Rowan
Kobe Bryant has been a treasure trove of quips and quotes over the past few days and he continued in his provocative ways by hinting that he could envision a scenario where he may finish his career overseas.
When asked by Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears in a Q&A whether playing outside the NBA to conclude his Hall of Fame career, specifically Italy or China, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar didn’t rule it out one bit.
“I can see myself doing that. I can see myself doing a lot of stuff,” Bryant told Spears. “That’s a whole other question. I will make some decisions when I decide to hang it up.”
Bryant was born in Philadelphia but moved with his family to Italy when he was six so his father could continue his pro basketball career in Europe.
China, on the other hand, is a much more intriguing and interesting proposition. Bryant is practically worshiped like a god in China (see here and here and here) and has made numerous trips, both professional and personal, to the country.
He is also making inroads to increasing his already formidable brand in China that much more by providing analysis for Sina, a China-based online community. He has also formed a partnership with the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group to create “a series of Kobe branded products,” per the company’s press release (via Eye on Basketball).
It’s hard to envision the NBA without Kobe Bryant as it feels like he’s never not been in the league after his soon-to-be two-decade career. But he will turn 37 later this month and is coming off three injury-plagued seasons. Despite the Lakers struggling and scuttling along in recent seasons, Bryant did say he “absolutely” believes the team will make the playoffs next season.
Whether the team reaches the postseason or not, the coming season could be Kobe’s final one in a Lakers uniform, the NBA or perhaps both, if we are to believe he would be open to playing overseas.
Then again, he could just walk away and retire, although he’s not saying one way or the other just yet.
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