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Italian team is pursuing Kobe Bryant again

October 19, 2011 | 12:38 pm

Kobe Bryant of the Lakers
Give it up already. 

Kobe Bryant obviously isn't interested in playing for the Italian basketball team Virtus Bologna, or he would've already signed a deal by now. But team owner Claudio Sabatini still thinks there's a chance. He touted Wednesday through a statement on the team's website that "the negotiations are still on" to sign Bryant sometime in mid-November.

Remember, it was only Tuesday when Sabatini announced that the team has stopped pursuing Bryant because the team couldn't afford him. Did Sabatini simply scratch off a winning lottery ticket within the last 24 hours? Did he seek funds from one of the Republican presidential candidates after his plea to President Obama didn't work? Perhaps. But it likely points to other scenarios. Sabatini simply can't resist the chance to see his name in the media. He remains understandably obsessed with Bryant's skill level. He feels allured by Bryant's claim that playing in Italy would be "a dream come true." 

This is nothing more than a tease, Mr. Sabatini. What, you think Bryant would say no when asked if he'd like to play for you? Not when there's an NBA lockout and he wants to create leverage. Not when he's on tour with Nike and wants to sell more shoes. Not when he knows he has someone who'll keep his name in the limelight without him having to utter a single word. 

So just give it up already, Sabatini. Bryant isn't coming to Italy, no matter what your heart may tell you.


Italian team halts pursuit of Kobe Bryant

Italian team hopes Bryant will play three exhibitions

Italian team seeks President Obama's help recruiting Bryant

-- Mark Medina

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Photo credit: Wong Maye-E / Associated Press