When Kobe Bryant was younger, he had announced that he would retire from the NBA by the time he was 35. He may just be keeping that promise. Bryant said in a statement to Yahoo! Sports while at the Olympics that after the last two years of his contract were up he is seriously considering playing in Europe.
“It would be natural for me to go do it. It wouldn’t be a stretch at all. I grew up here.”
Here of course meaning London where he is playing for the US Olympic team.
Due to Bryant’s father playing basketball in Italy, Kobe spent most of his childhood there. He speaks fluent Italian and Spanish.
Kobe is a huge star in Europe and has a much bigger fan base than in the United States (if that is even possible with his talent). His main endorsement partner Nike would certainly be happy with the move.
Bryant said it wouldn’t be an easy decision to decide where to play in Europe, saying,
“You’d have to look at the market and what’s going on in terms of the level of basketball being played. 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.”
Wojnarowski also asked Bryant if he had set his sights on possibly buys a European basketball team, to which Kobe replied,
“I’d have to make that a decision to make it a full-time thing. If this is something that I decided I wanted to pursue, I’m not going to buy it and just let somebody else run it. If I’m going to make the investment, I’m going to run it. I’m going to know the ins-and-outs of the business and how to run it the right way.”