Kobe will go down as one of the most decorated NBA players of all-time, already having won five NBA titles and potentially in the hunt to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league’s all-time leading scorer.
When Kobe’s playing days in the NBA are over, his playing days in general may not be.
“It would be natural for me to go do it,” Kobe told Yahoo! Sports when asked if he would consider playing overseas when his NBA career was done. “It wouldn’t be a stretch at all. I grew up here.”
Kobe grew up living in Italy while his father, Joe Bryant, played in the Italian league. Kobe’s favorite player growing up was Mike D’Antoni who was the reason why Kobe wore No. 8 with the Lakers to begin his career.
“You’d have to look at the market and what’s going on in terms of the level of basketball being played,” Kobe said. “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.”
The level of play in other countries is something that has been increasing ever since the 1992 Dream Team dominated the Olympic basketball field in Barcelona. Players like Deron Williams, Stephon Marbury and Josh Childress have spent some time playing professionally in other countries.
Kobe doing this, who seems to be such a citizen of the world, doesn’t seem that farfetched at all.
We know he loves basketball more than anything in the world and he will stay involved in it somehow after his NBA career. If he can still compete at a high level in these other leagues into his 40’s, possibly picking up a few championships along the way, doesn’t that sound just like Kobe?