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Italian team seeks President Obama's help recruiting Kobe Bryant

October 13, 2011 |  8:53 am

Kobe Bryant

President Obama is getting a bailout request, and no, it's not from the banks or the auto industry.

No, this one involves convincing Kobe Bryant to play for the Italian team, Virtus Bologna, the latest sign on how desperate and attention-craving owner Claudio Sabatini has become in securing the services of the Lakers star. He posted a letter on the team website, hoping Obama would take time out of his busy schedule in the same way he does with sharing his yearly NCAA tournament picks with ESPN's Andy Katz.

"Dear Mr. President,

We have a dream: to see Kobe Bryant playing for our Team Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna, the Italian town well known in the world as basket City.

According to your wishes we hope that the NBA lockout will shortly stop but in the meanwhile let us have the chance to see at least for one game the great Kobe Bryant playing with our black and white jersey and be part of our history."

Very creative, especially since Obama acknowledged he felt "heart broken" about the NBA lockout. Of course, it wouldn't really match Obama's political interest to help outsource American jobs overseas just as he's seeking approval of the American Jobs Act. Even though Obama met with Bryant's family personally during the Lakers' trip to the White House in 2010, the president might be more inclined to help Derrick Rose find an overseas gig first since he is a Chicago Bulls fan.

But that obviously doesn't concern Sabatini. He's just trying to find creative ways to act like it's still possible to land Bryant. The Italian league resisted Virtus Bologna's proposal to sign Bryant to a $3-million deal to play in 10 games because it would require the league to alter its schedule. Bryant also hasn't responded to the team's offer to play in just one game for $1 million or $2 million. So clearly Sabatini's ploys in signing Bryant haven't worked. Keeping Sabatini's name in the limelight, however, has done wonders, even if it's sparked punchlines in the process.


Kobe Bryant near one-game, $2-million deal with Italian team: owner

Italian team hopes NBA lockout will help it land Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant says he'd love to play with Carmelo Anthony

— Mark Medina

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Photo credit: Matteo Bazzi / EPA / September 28, 2011