Amidst a worsening labor dispute in the NBA that threatens the start of the next season, the top player in the game may lead a barnstorming tour of China, the league’s biggest potential market.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant may consider staging an exhibition tour of China, where he is arguably the most popular athlete.
The Times said that Bryant and his agent Rob Pelinka are trying to arrange a Chinese tour with various other players, including Minnesota Timberwolves rookie forward Derrick Williams (another Pelinka client), who was drafted second in last month’s NBA draft.
Bryant’s teammate Pau Gasol has said he might also considering playing in China in the event the NBA players union cannot hammer out an agreement with owners, although his native Spain would be his first choice.
The New York Daily News reported that Knicks’ star Amare Stoudemire could also join Bryant in the Far East.
But Bryant is not the only NBA star considering a Chinese holiday.
Reigning MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls may be part of a Chinese exhibition tour in the event the NBA lockout is extended, according to SportsBusiness.