Whether the talks of Turkey or chatter about China come true, one thing is certain. Lockout or not, Kobe Br..."/> Whether the talks of Turkey or chatter about China come true, one thing is certain. Lockout or not, Kobe Br..."/>

Going Overseas? Give It A Break, Kobe


Whether the talks of Turkey or chatter about China come true, one thing is certain. Lockout or not, Kobe Bryant is going to play basketball. From where Kobe is standing, he can make a million dollars a month playing overseas while keeping his skill-set sharp for when NBA action resumes. His brand is already enormously popular in Asia and surrounding regions and increased exposure in Europe will undoubtedly boost his global image. For anyone in Kobe’s position, this decision should seem like a no-brainer. But for him, this should be one of the most thoroughly thought out decisions of his basketball career because if there was ever a time for number 24 to rest, the time is now.

Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images via Zimbio

Mastering a craft requires complete dedication and for the elite of the profession, they must devote their life to it. In addition to 15 seasons in the NBA, Kobe’s restless summers of postseason and international play and completed/forgone surgeries stand as a testament to this. The man loves basketball and his resume shows the feelings are mutual. Consequently, this is why Kobe doesn’t even consider rest; his drive to be the best in the league remains unparalleled by most NBA players. The problem for Kobe is that the heart is willing, but the body isn’t cooperating like it used to. For instance, in his playoff career, he has logged in over 8,000 minutes which is the equivalent of two additional regular seasons. At nearly 33 years old, his infamous shooting finger and arthritic right knee can’t be 100%. With the lockout acting as an extended vacation, it would be foolish for him not to take advantage and to focus on the remaining years he has left where he can compete at a Kobe-like level.

For Kobe to even consider going overseas should serve as a huge wake-up call to the league’s owners and commissioner David Stern. The reason being is that Kobe has been setting trends in the NBA ever since he entered it. Along with Kevin Garnett, he revitalized the idea of players jumping straight from high school to the league. He had the first no-trade clause in his contract in NBA history. His signature low-cut sneakers, a huge no-no for ballers 10 years ago, are worn on the pro, college, and amateur courts everywhere nowadays. Even the NBA’s golden child LeBron James used the Mamba’s lingo when deciding to “take his talents” to South Beach (YouTube Kobe’s high school press conference and you’ll see what I’m talking about). Who is to say that other franchise faces of the NBA won’t imitate Kobe again as they’ve done in the past? For the sake of the NBA’s future, I hope the owners and Mr. Stern aren’t naïve to the possibility of players fulfilling their NBA contracts once the lockout ends and then returning/going overseas to continue their careers. The headache the lockout has provided thus far would be miniscule compared to if superstars start packing their luggage for a permanent move.

Though the aforementioned scenario won’t be the case for many, it definitely could be an option for Kobe. He spent his childhood growing up in Italy and would adapt to the European cultures and lifestyles much easier than the average NBA player. In addition, the Lakers’ decision to disregard his thoughts on the hiring of head coach Mike Brown combined with rumors of blockbuster future free-agent signings (we all know how much Kobe enjoys playing the sidekick) could make Kobe’s decision to play abroad a lot easier. So Kobe, for the sake of your Lakers, your health, and the well-being of the NBA, give it a rest for once.

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