During an interview with Italian media outlet Corriere de Bologna, Kobe Bryant says that he was serious about joining Virtus Bologna had the NBA lockout wiped out the season, and the Lakers’ superstar plans to eventually return to Italy and hoop there. From Ball in Europe: “It was all true,’ Corriere quotes Kobe as stating. ‘It was not a hoax.’ Kobe goes on to say that ‘As I’ve said many times, I would be happy to one day play in the Italian League; it’s a dream I had as a child…’ Corriere goes on to cite inside sources as explaining that [Virtus Bologna president Claudio Sabbatini] & Co. could not compromise with Bryant’s representative Rob Pelinka on the nature of the games Kobe would have played. Sabbatini’s plan was mostly planned as being ‘a kind of occasional collaboration’ because the club was having serious problems with the league’s standard labor contract and therein that old bugaboo, taxes. Concluded Kobe’s thoughts on playing in Europe: ‘I was really looking forward to starting this adventure in Italy, but then things in the NBA settled down and the season started after the lockout, so [my return to] Italy did not materialize. But there is still time in the future.'”
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