Kobe Bryant Open to Playing Final Basketball Years in Europe, Leaving NBA When Lakers Contract Ends

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Kobe Bryant Open to Playing Final Basketball Years in Europe, Leaving NBA When Lakers Contract EndsKobe Bryant has said he may be done with the Lakers and the NBA when he finishes his next contract in two years, at age 35.

But that doesn’t mean he’ll be done with basketball.

Bryant may return to his roots and play in a European league after his NBA career is over, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes. Bryant, who lived overseas while his father, Joe Bryant, played on various teams, said he’s open to spending a year in Europe.

“It would be natural for me to go do it,” said Bryant, who can speak Italian and Spanish and is more than comfortable with European culture. “It wouldn’t be a stretch at all. I grew up here.”

While Bryant said he likely wouldn’t play in an Italian league, where his father made his name, due to the decreased level of competition, he was open to joining a club in Turkey or Spain. Bryant was in talks to join a Turkish team during last season’s lockout.

Bryant’s move would be just as much about marketing and building for the future as it would be about finding somewhere new to play for another year, Wojnarowski writes. Bryant has also toyed with the idea of buying and running a team.

This much is for sure — at 33, after 16 seasons in the league that included five titles, an MVP, two Finals MVPs, 14 All-Star selections and countless other accolades, Bryant isn’t worried about his legacy in the NBA being dented by an end-of-career detour.

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