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Kobe Bryant's possible world tour a good idea

October 19, 2011 |  3:48 pm

Kobe Bryant

Finally, there's a venture that will satisfy Kobe Bryant's competitive juices, promote his brand and keep him mostly free from risking injury.

He'll still play intensely on the hardwood. He'll still be logging some miles on his highly maintenanced body. He'll still be kept away from possibly organizing informal workouts for his Lakers teammates.

But the possibility of Bryant teaming with other NBA superstars in a two-week exhibition tour would be mostly harmless. Other players ESPN's Chris Broussard reported would probably participate in a tour from Oct. 30 through Nov. 8 with stops in Puerto Rico, London, Macau and Australia will resonate with even the most casual NBA fan. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Carlos Boozer, Paul Pierce and Kevin Love would probably treat these games as nothing more than glorified scrimmages. As indicated by his moves in a pair of August exhibition games in the Philippines, it's likely that Bryant would do the same.

None of these players would carry the same animosity as some professional foreign players would, such as when former USC guard Daniel Hackett suggested he'd deliver Bryant some hard fouls in Italy. So everyone can feel relieved that no one would deliver Bryant a blow in exhange for 15 minutes of notoriety. 

And, oh yeah, it comes with nice financial perks. Broussard reports players, including Bryant, may earn up to $1 million for the venture without having to go through any practice grind. Bryant can extend his Nike brand without doing much additional work. And all the excitement surrounding the event would keep the NBA's marquee players in the headlines for the right reasons.

Bryant's possible overseas ventures in professional leagues in Turkey, China and Italy prompted understandable hand-wringing, including from yours truly, out of concern for his health. But this case is different. On this tour, Bryant can ball, market himself and earn extra money along the way without worrying about any of the fine print.

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--Mark Medina

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