Kobe Bryant said it is very possible he will play in Italy during the current NBA lockout, according to The Associated Press. It would make sense because the five-time NBA champion and 13-time all-star spent some of his childhood there.
The Italian club Virtus Bologna has made numerous contract offers to Bryant. Virtus told AP the latest talks are centered on a $2.5 million offer for 10 games over 40 days from Oct. 9 to Nov. 16. After taxes, that would come out to about $1.5 million.
The deal would allow Bryant to return to the Lakers immediately if the lockout ends.
Italy is my home, said Bryant, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport, an Italian sports newspaper. 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.
The Turkish club Besiktas and at least one team in China have also expressed interest in Bryant. However, all signs point seem to point in in the direction of Virtus Bologna.
It's a huge honor for me to return to Italy. It's home for me, Bryant said in almost-fluent Italian in a video posted on the Gazzetta Web site. It's always been a dream for me to play in Italy. We've got to wait and see what happens.
The same club also recently reached out to Manu Ginobili, who played with the team before joining the San Antonio Spurs in 2002.