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Michael Cooper unconcerned if Kobe Bryant plays in Italy [Video]

October 4, 2011 |  8:47 am

The unspoken question hanging in the air about the NBA lockout and Kobe Bryant possibly playing overseas.

In fact, Magic Johnson immediately noted the irony when he arrived at the debut of the NBA 2K12 video game Monday evening at a local Best Buy and spotted Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak in the parking lot.

"Mitch," Johnson said, with his arms around him, "you're not allowed to talk to reporters during this time."

"I can talk to them," Kupchak said with a smile. "I just can't tell them anything."

In fact, there were a lot of people who fit in that category as they strolled down the red carpet promoting the game's launch, including Johnson, Kupchak, Jerry West and Mike Brown. But there proved to be one exception in USC women's basketball coach and former Laker Michael Cooper, who currently has no formal NBA ties. That enabled Cooper to speak freely on why he doesn't believe Bryant possibly playing for Virtus Bologna in the Italian League should spark concerns about his injuries.

"I don't think it's a good thing or a bad thing," said Cooper, who played in Italy during the 1990-91 season for Pallacanestro Virtus Roma. "I think players should be making as much money as they can in the short amount of time your body can provide for you. Unfortunately the lockout is forcing him to go over there, but I don't think it will do anything with the lockout."


Bryant stars in Italian Nike commercial

Bryant's overseas venture would weaken union

Bryant and Italy's Virtus Bologna work to iron out deal

-- Mark Medina

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