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Friday, August 8th, 2008 at 11:00 am  |  76 responses

Kobe, Too, Is Ready for Europe to Come Calling

by Marcel Mutoni

Specifically, the place where he grew up.

Kobe Bryant wasn’t just going to let LeBron hog all of the attention about possibly leaving the NBA if some Euro-drunk team owner from across the pond made a serious bid to acquire his services.

Bryant, like James, spoke freely about being totally open to the idea of playing overseas prior to the start of the Beijing Games. And as far as Kobe is concerned, hooping in Italy wouldn’t be a bad way to make a living.

From the Boston Globe:

“I’d go. I’d probably go,” said Bryant, during a USA Basketball press conference on Friday morning. “Like Milan or something like that, where I grew up or something like that… Peace out.”

Bryant continued: “Do you know any reasonable person that would turn down 50 (million dollars)?”

OK, so now the NBA’s two biggest stars are almost literally daring European teams to come after them. The reality of things, of course, is that no offers for a star of LeBron or Kobe’s magnitude are on the table. Not yet, at least. But only a fool would believe that one won’t eventually be made.

You worried yet, NBA? No, of course not

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  • B. Long

    Dear Slamonline, Please stop. Your hurting America. Sincerely, B. Long

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I hate the media.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    im surprised kobe hasnt demanded to be traded.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I, as the one true Kobe detractor that frequents this place, would be thrilled if he went to my homeland and played a few years there.

  • B. Long

    @Eboy:Trust me, your not the “one true Kobe detractor that frequents this place”. There is this Ryan Jones guy that you may or may not have heard of who probably doesn’t own a #10 Team USA jersey either, unless it’s pinned up on a bulletin board. You need to learn a new trick in you want to be unique around here anymore, E. Maybe you should start rooting for the Thunder. Rooting for an obscure team in a new location works for BETcats.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    eboy, why would kobe go to poland?

  • Captain America

    Hores

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    kevin durant is going to be better than kobe and lebron

  • Captain America

    Eboy, heard your “homeland” severed ties with you years ago.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Polish sausage.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Captain America has been dead for the better part of two years now. No one cares about a superhero that hasn’t had their own movie franchise. Please open your urn and blow away.

  • B. Long

    Believe it or not, I actually could be more understanding if Kobe was to go and play in a place like Milan as long as its just not the money considering he did spend the majority of his childhood there than if Lebron just signs with the highest global bidder. I understand that he wants to be a “global icon” and the first “billioniare” athelete but come on how much money do these guys really need? When is it about more than money? Ever?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    B, you are misguided. Ryan is a true Kobe fanatic, hidden under the guise of a Lebron apologist. Don’t let the slightly sardonic tone of his comments fool you. His son’s middle name is Bean for GOD’s sake! I looked it up in the Amish census registry.

  • B. Long

    @Tarzan: Your banned from this site for the rest of the day. Enjoy reading the intelligence of Charley Rosen over at foxsports.com.

  • Young Chris MP3

    Kobe WILL go. He just will wait until he’s passed his prime to do it. As long as he is playing on this level there is no reasonable explanation for him to go and compete in an inferior league against inferior competition. When those skills start to diminish though, Kobe’s gonna cash in.

  • Blue

    Yeah, Kobe and Marbury backcourt in Italy would be fun to watch…but not half as fun as the interviews.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I would say it’s a virtual certainty that Kobe will play at least one season in Europe before his playing days are over. His dad did it. Brian Shaw did it. Byron Scott did it.

  • B. Long

    @Russ: Probably, but not anytime within the next 5 years. Unless he has some kind of horrific injury(knocks on wood).

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    Will this mean that Kobe will now swear in English?

  • B. Long

    @Russ: and Mike didn’t do it. So according to most “Kobe detractors” around here that makes it even less likely.

  • Captain America

    Eboy, talking trash to the “dead” typical loyer. Hey, there’s an ambulance….quick!

  • casey

    Wow…the regular season needs to start again really fast. The fact that the focus has been on all this gossip makes me feel like i am reading some stupid TMZ column. The one place I come to escape all that crap and you guys are doing it too? C’mon SLAM…gimme something better.

  • B. Long

    @H:LMAO

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Make that money. Americans love capitalism until it starts messing with their plans.

  • B. Long

    @Allenp:Foshizzle, get that cash, money, dolla dolla bill yall!

  • http://tha4point0show.tumblr.com WeS

    What ever happened to Marbury going to Italy? Wasnt he the first big name to threaten to leave last summer? People called him crazy (for that and other statements).

  • B. Long

    @Captain A: I believe the word you were looking for is “lawyer”.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    on a related note, it is extremely sad and disheartening to see lebron with this huge stage and the whole world watching him. and what does he say? “i want to be a billionaire athlete” not “i want to help as many kids as i can” or “i want to help improve this country” no, lebron wants 5 helicopters, a dozen mansions, and more cars than jay leno. lebron has the biggest megaphone ever, and all hes doing is being greedy. muhammed ali isnt walking through that door……jim brown isnt walking through that door………

  • B. Long

    @Tarzan: OK, I was wrong. You just got your Slamonline privledges back.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    who the eff is blong?

  • B. Long

    If you don’t know you better ask somebody! Oh…yeah, you just did. I’m pretty much the sites’ unoffical Kobe apologist. It has pretty much became a full time job. 8)

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    You are about 15th in line for that title, B. YOU need the new SLAM tag, my friend.

  • B. Long

    I might not have been the first, E, but I’m damn sure wearing the belt right now. Undisputed.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    Please.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    you guys crack me up.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    what happened to bodie?

  • http://www.alloutblitz.com Cordeazy

    World Basketball Association coming soon! might want to buy some of that stock

  • B. Long

    I figured that would get a rise out of Myles. 8)

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Just finished watching the Beijing 08 opening ceremonies, and may i say that a LOT of sports leagues are probably jealous of the NBA’s Status in China right now. Stern’s genius has set the league up nicely there, apart from the fact that there were 5 NBA Flag bearers (yeah, yeah, that’s a national decision), there was a short scene where different athletes were shown up close. Amongst the likes of Federer, Nadal and some sprinters, KB24 and DIRK got the loudest cheers from the crowd. Especially Kob’s. Mambiatch, move to Shanghai or something, they love ya there.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    B? See that Myles Brown guy? He’s pretty good at and pretty much grandfathered in as one of the original Kobe apologists and fact facilitator on the subject. I would then point to the Canadian contigent of Holly MacKenzie & Marcel Mutoni, then go to the 5 headed California kid JBNfhddk;(aka Bodie)as the top Kobe marks that have tenure over you. I know I’m missing some, but you are in the cabooze of the Mamba locomotive, buddy.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    And amongst all the athletes, AK47, Deron and Booze even found a minute to hang out together during the festivities. That was kinda moving to see. And Ginobili, Jasekevicius, Manu (biggest smile on his face ever) and Dirk Werner Nowitzki beaming allover the place while waving their flags, that was just plain…awesome. Gawd i love Basketball toooo much.

  • B. Long

    @E:Maybe on this site, but not in real life. And most of these people must still be in some kind of Finals depression hungover state considering I haven’t seen Bodie or Holly on here in a min. Either that, or they have lives.

  • http://slamonline.com Chris O’Leary

    Do you think that the Redeem Team was sitting in the locker room and decided to all one by one say that they’d consider playing in Europe for $50 mil? If I had celeb status, I’d pull stuff like that all the time. When the media eats up everything you say, why not have fun with it?

  • Captain America

    Could care little about the ins and outs of Kobe/Bron/Wade and $$$$$$. The issue is the timing and the very public messages. Like, can’t they wait a few weeks before the money grab? Aren’t we concerned about the “Redeem Team?” Besides, the EUR v. USD translation situation will not hold up long term. Extreme short-sightedness all around.

  • Captain America

    Eboy, how many loyers have time to post on slamonline? Do you get billables for dat?

  • B. Long

    @Chris O’Leary: That’s the smartest thing I’ve heard all day.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    cap’n crunch, i doubt hes a real lawyer. he is on here more than damn near anyone.

  • a_whiteman

    kobe wants to go to europe so he can win another title cuz it aint gonna happen over here lol

  • Justin

    @ B. Long and Chris O’Leary: Yep. Man I would have a ball just watching the ESPN and SLAM staff going teenage-girl crazy over something another grown man said.

  • Diogo

    “Do you know any reasonable person that would turn down 50 (million dollars)?” F*cking ain’t.

  • speedy

    Kobe and LeBron are really showing that money is everything…thats on their mind.

  • mdshuai

    Kobe says that he’d go now, when the thought of all that money is on the table; and who can blame him? But I mean, wouldn’t that be sort of like leaving the gym where all of the real ballers lay to go run with the scrubs just because one of the offers to buy you a gatorade – or even 50 million gatorades?
    The thing I’ve respected about Kobe his whole career, whether or not I liked the guy I at least respected it, was that he was always about being the BEST on the biggest stage; and I don’t see him being able to prove that in Europe. Well, I guess unless Bron Bron heads over there; then they can have a competition to see who averages 100 points first.

  • http://www.talkaboutsport.blogspot.com TalkAboutSport

    Lol. If you read the YahooSports article that says the NBA is not worried about players leaving to Europe – think again. I agree with Speedy – money is defining these players. If they leave America – they will lose a majority of the TOUGH competition. Competition in the NBA is fiercer than the Euroleague. Even though the dollar is weakening they should stay in America because they will lose their fanbase otherwise.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    How many true superstars are in the NBA right now? Ten? Less? If a LeBron or a Kobe (or both) went to Europe, you don’t think other lesser players (lesser as in mere All-Stars) would follow? If the NBA waits for a top-three guy to leave before they consider there to be a problem, it’ll be too late. Just because the NBA has always been the premier basketball league doesn’t mean it will be forever.

  • B. Long

    @Russ: True, but unless our entire economy collapses(which is a bigger possibility than most realize) I just don’t see it happening for at least the next 3 years.

  • Z

    Kobe and LBJ are merely saying that it would be a wise move to listen to somebody that wants to thrown 50 mil at you. I can hear that.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com Dutch Rich

    I would love to hear a player say ” if McCain wins I’m bolting” just to have the media run with it. That might give it some CNN coverage.
    Would have to be a Melo to pull that off. Bron can’t go political like that.

  • http://firemitchkupchak.com Reggie Evans

    They should make sure they mean 50 million today, not in ten years when someone offers 50 million, and says “but you said if we offered 50 million!” forgetting that 50 million in the future will be like 10 million today.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com Dutch Rich

    Word to all NBA players.
    European market projected to drop nov 2008.
    Get your contracts NOW!!!!!!!!

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Eboy – There is not a snowball’s chance in hell that Kobe ever plays for New Jersey.

  • ciolkstar

    Eboy how are you the one true Kobe detractor that frequents this site????
    I’ve been repping Bron as the best in the world and critquing Bryant’s newfound “leadership” (insisting on not shooting even when you are open, to the point where it hurts your team is ATLEAST as selfish as his 35 shots a game act)
    All that said I agree with Kobe: What reasonable person turns down 50 mill?

  • http://firemitchkupchak.com Reggie Evans

    Seems like there’s a new sport among Kobe Haters besides Kobe hating and arguing about how much better Lebron/MJ is than Kobe. Now they’re arguing about who hates Kobe the most, and who hated him first.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    No, ciolkstar, I’ve disliked him the longest.

  • milan

    go to milan and pair up ronaldinho to bethe most powerful athletes

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP aka D.Polo

    I love haters. they make the job so much easier.

  • RedRum

    oh oh… let me remind you that in football (soccer for the yanks) it is common for teams to pay up to 120-140 million dollars to buy a player. Man U had a 150 million offer from Real Madrid for Ronaldo, and they still did not sell him!! Basketball does not have as big as budgets as football, but I cannot see why billionaires in europe would not get interested. They did it with Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, Armani owned a team in Italy, Real and Barca in spain are loaded, CCSKA in Russia is owned by the military (which means unlimited money….) Can’t wait to see Paul Pierce in the black and yellow jersey of Aris Salonica!

  • Clay

    who cares… Nique did this back in ’90s
    why is everyone so shocked?

    Now, if he signed with the Sydney Kings that would be news breaking!

  • Chukaz

    Nobody is going to give Kobe or LeBron 50 million a year. The reality of things is that a team overseas would actually have to pay 50 Euros for Kobe or LeBron. A 50 Million dollar contract in Europe is actually a 78 million dollar contract because there are taxes, but they are covered by the team. A team would have to spend 78 million dollars for a single season to get Kobe or LeBron. An Euro is worth about a buck 50, so the owner would have to spend something like 50 euros per season. European teams are not that rich. Josh Childress’ team will be spending 32 million dollars over the next 3 years. 32 million is way less than 78. 32 million over 3 years is way way less than 78 for a single season. Let’s not forget that Josh’s deal is the bigest in european history. Josh is gonna be making 6 1/3 million a year, nobody is paying Kobe or LeBron 50 million a year. MJ, when he was the best player in the history of basketball and was in his prime, wasn’t worth 50 million.

  • Miguel Ferreira

    im not compeletely against the idea, (perhaps due to the fact that i live in portugal, europe) although, Kobe and LeBron are the face of America’s greatest sport: basketball. As well as it’s amazing league the NBA…

  • paz t

    Please go. I just hope the doorways into the basketball courts can accomodate the size of your inflated big ass head.

  • T. Crook

    Get used to NBA ballers saying they are open to playing in Europe. They will use it as a bargaining chip and it will work. How about them Celtics!

  • GOSPURSGO

    50 million dollars? or 50 million Euros . . . do the math . . .

  • GOSPURSGO

    oh and Chukaz . . the owners’ pockets are much deeper than that of their European counterparts . . you think someone WOULDN’T drop a 50 million contract on a sure thing?

  • GOSPURSGO

    and bear in mind that unlike the NBA there is NO salary cap in the EL so what’s to stop a team from putting a seemingly obnoxious deal on the table? think about that before you speak on the EL being “not that rich” the proper term is wealthy and according to the immortal chris rock there IS difference between the two . . .

  • GOSPURSGO

    the fact remains that euroleague owners have deep pockets, can offer free housing/expenses, they take care of players income taxes, and the euro/USdollar exchange rate is a huge benefit to the Euroteams it’s becoming more and more evident that the EL is making an attempt to compete with the NBA on a bigger stage ya check?

    get your facts straight my G . . .

  • chase

    :(

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