It appears that Turkish basketball fans’ dreams and hopes of seeing Kobe Bryant play in their country are just that: dreams.
According to multiple published reports, the chances of Kobe taking his talents to Istanbul are close to zero (Bryant himself says he hasn’t spoken to the Turkish team Besiktas in weeks.)
What appears more likely, at the moment, is Kobe Bryant playing in China during the NBA lockout.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar, however, says he’s open to playing basically anywhere on the planet, so long as the deal makes sense.
From the NY Times and Yahoo! Sports:
Bryant, sources said, is still listening to offers to play overseas during the NBA’s lockout, and considers China a more likely option. He has exchanged proposals with Chinese teams, and one source said it’s unlikely Bryant would accept any deal that pays him less than $1.5 million per month. Bryant would be free to rejoin the Lakers as soon as the lockout ends. Bryant, a source close to him said, also has become irritated with Besiktas officials making public proclamations on the status of talks with him.
“I’m just waiting for my phone to ring,” he said, gesturing to his cellphone on the table in front of him. “I’d play anywhere. I grew up overseas, so I’m very comfortable playing overseas.” And Europe would be the perfect place for him. A reporter asked him in Spanish if he would consider playing in Barcelona, to be oh-so-close to the soccer team he adores. Bryant, who speaks Italian and some Spanish, did not even wait for the question to be translated into English before answering. “I’d definitely come there and play, for sure,” he said, before smiling coyly.
Again, all of this means very little until Kobe Bryant (or any other NBA star besides Deron Williams) signs on the dotted line with a foreign team.
We’ll just have to continue to speculate and guess, waiting to see if a player of consequence actually pulls the trigger, as this lockout painfully and endlessly drags on.