Did you hear that? It’s the sound of NBA appeal and influence in this country falling hard to the floor. Due to the ongoing labor crisis, the league cancelled a big chunk of preseason games last week. Within another few days, it’ll probably be time to cancel the rest of the preseason. And you know what comes after that…casualties in the regular season, and with it, an erosion of all that added interest the league obtained from people who tuned in strictly for the purpose of hating Lebron James and the Miami Heat.
The damage could get a lot worse before it gets better. The winners of the league’s 2008 and 2011 MVP awards may be bolting the homeland to play overseas. Both Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers told the media today that it could happen.
According to the AP/Fox Sports, Kobe said it was:
”very possible” he will play in Italy during the NBA lockout, adding the country is like home because he spent part of his childhood there.
Virtus Bologna has made numerous contract offers to the Los Angeles Lakers star. Bryant discussed the offer with the Gazzetta dello Sport during a sponsor’s appearance in Milan on Wednesday.
”It’s very possible. It would be a dream for me,” Bryant said, according to the Gazzetta. ”There’s an opportunity that we’ve been discussing over the last few days. It’s very possible and that’s good news for me.”
Kobe speaks the Italian language quite well, so he would transition quite seamlessly to the new culture.
Closer to home, Derrick Rose made a public appearance at a public playground in his native Englewood neighborhood of Chicago yesterday. Rose returned from a Bora Bora vacation with his mother to help unveil the rehabbed and rejuvenated Murray Park basketball court- a place where Rose developed his extraordinary skills.
Rose’s sponsors Adidas, Powerade and others teamed with the Chicago Park District to upgrade the outdoor facility.
And according to the Chicago Tribune, he mentioned his chances of playing in Europe:
“Yes, I am taking into consideration that I might move overseas,” Rose said. “I don’t know where. There are a lot of great places overseas. I haven’t really had time to get the details of every place.”
Rose said he has one concrete offer from an undisclosed foreign team and a source close to Rose said several others have inquired about his services. The source stressed those opportunities would be pursued only if regular-season games get canceled and labor talks break down for an extended period.
So Deron Williams isn’t the only huge name that may be playing overseas for the 2011-12 season. The NBA: “where amazing foreign league play happens.”
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too
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