Kobe Bryant may go on world exhibition tour
Finally, there might be games in which Kobe Bryant would actually play.
And they would not be taking place in Italy, Turkey or China.
While the NBA owners and players union continue to negotiate over a new collective bargaining agreement, Bryant and a handful of other NBA stars may go on a world barnstorming tour, as first reported by ESPN's Chris Broussard.
Plans are not finalized, but the report indicates a roster might nearly resemble the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, including Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Rajon Rondo, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Carlos Boozer, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce and Kevin Love. Certainly there's no coincidence this report has surfaced as the NBA owners and players union are meeting with federal mediator George Cohen, which many consider a last-ditch effort before Commissioner David Stern might cancel games through Christmas.
Should the tour actually happen, it would run Oct. 30 through Nov. 9 with stops to Puerto Rico, London, Macau, and Australia in arenas holding at leasting 15,000 fans. It shouldn't be surprising this appears likely to take place. The Times' Baxter Holmes reported in July that Bryant was considering being a part of a barnstorming tour in China. Still, don't consider this barnstorming tour as possible leverage. All the aforementioned players are well compensated and able to absorb a lost season. Such a venture would only highlight the earning disparity between them and role players.
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Photo: Kobe Bryant might go on tour with other NBA stars. Credit: Wally Skalij/ Los Angeles Times