Kobe Bryant will consider leaving the NBA to play in Europe if there is a lockout or he doesn’t like the outcome of a new CBA, an unnamed teammate told the NY Daily News. The most likely landing spot for Bryant would be Italy, where he spent seven years of his life while his father, Joe, played there professionally.
Regardless of what he has told his teammates, Bryant isn’t going anywhere. He’s as competitive as they come, and leaving while he’s tied with or one shy of Michael Jordan’s six championships isn’t an option. It’s well-known that Bryant idolizes Jordan — just as every player of his generation does. To match and then surpass Jordan in titles would be the ultimate accomplishment, one too great for Bryant to give up on before his body gives up on him. Aside from the championships, I can’t see Bryant being satisfied with tearing up lesser competition in Europe.
Kobe seems to be too smart to go the route of Allen Iverson, and he works too hard for that ever to be an issue. Iverson is playing in Turkey because he refused to work hard enough to alter his game as he got older. Bryant has already made changes to his game and will continue to do so until he no longer can. Hopefully, he’ll walk away graciously when that time comes — something the man he idolizes chose not to do. Whatever the case, there’s no doubt it will be an NBA court he’s leaving behind.