The NBA lockout is still in its infancy. By most accounts it’s going to be a long summer and possibly a longer winter. Unlike the NFL, which is the only game for its players, NBA players have options to sustain their income during the lockout.
Both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol have made headlines recently by looking into the possibility of playing overseas. They’re far from alone as other players are doing the same.
If you’re an NBA owner this news can’t sit well.
Sure there’s all the injury concern among other issues. But the larger issue is that the owners can’t act as if the NBA is the only viable option for the players. While they won’t make the same money in other leagues, the players are certainly in a position to keep in shape and earn a little coin during a prolonged lockout
While Gasol is considering his native Spain – which boasts one of the world’s more competitive leagues – and China as options Kobe Bryant is taking a much different approach. Kobe’s agent is actually considering putting together a tour of China. According to reports the tour could include the likes of long time vet Derek Fisher, rising star Eric Gordon and highly touted rookie Derrick Williams.
The Kobe tour creates quite a different wrinkle in this lockout conundrum. No player will ever be bigger than the game. This is the golden rule of all sports. But is it possible one player could be bigger than the NBA?
Kobe’s popularity in China is such that you feel he could spend the final days of his career touring the country and participating in exhibition games all the while collecting serious cash…or Yuan as it were. Not saying that a “Kobe League” would rival the NBA on a global scale but under the right circumstances it could definitely lure top talent if say there was some situation that did not permit players to play professionally in the States. You know…like a lockout or something of the sorts.
Again it’s too early to go that far down the road but this does create a very interesting situation that deserves attention. Right now it’s all talk but as we all know money does the most speaking. Should KB24 and company prove it’s possible to create a viable option outside the states for top tier talent then all bets could be off. Stay tuned. Basketball as we know could be changing right before our eyes.