HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Since there is still some doubt as to whether or not a deal will be finalized, we won’t proclaim Kobe Bryant as a member of the Italian professional basketball team Virtus Bologna.
But it appears that the Los Angeles Lakers superstar is certainly interested in finding a place to sharpen his skills back his in his beloved Italy:
“Italy is my home,” Bryant told reporters earlier this week while on a promotional tour in Italy. “It’s where my dream of playing in the NBA started. This is where I learned the fundamentals, learned to shoot, to pass and to [move] without the ball … all things that when I came back to America, the players my age didn’t know how to do because they were only thinking about jumping and dunking.”
Like we said, there appear to be some serious complications (per the Los Angeles Times) surrounding potential deal that would see Bryant complete the agreement to join the team for the first 40 days of the Italian League season, beginning Oct. 9, for a cool $3 million.
Unlike many of his NBA counterparts that have flirted with and even embraced the idea of playing overseas during the lockout, Bryant has extensive ties to Italy. He spent his formative years there while his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, starred in the Italian League.
There is also the issue of the NBA labor meetings going on today and through this weekend in New York. Progress made in those meetings could certainly have an impact on whether or not Bryant decides to continue to pursue what he called “a dream” to play in the Italian League.
As interesting as it might be to see what sort of impact he could have overseas, even during an abbreviated 10-game stint, it sounds more and more likely that it might not happen.