While both sides urgently try to get a deal done in the NBA lockout, many notable players have already committed to playing overseas during the lockout or are on the brink of setting sail.
One such player is megastar Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant is said to be on his way to the Italian powerhouse Virtus Bologna if no deal is made soon in the NBA.
Former San Antonio Spurs player Robert Horry and Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen both said players from their generation would never have pondered the idea of heading to play overseas in a lockout. They both agreed that at the time, no form of basketball was even close to the NBA’s.
Today though, with international play now at an elite level, they might consider making the move in a lockout.
Horry went on to say that the players heading overseas don’t know what they’re in for.
“They want to go at you,” Horry said. “And there are no creature comforts . . . a lot of these guys will go over there and feel homesick.”
The rare case is Bryant because he did live in Italy for several years and knows how to speak and understand Italian. Horry said, Bryant could work well in Italy,
“He speaks Italian,” said Horry, who played with Bryant from 1996-2003. “I won’t say he was born there, but he spent a lot of years there. That’s almost like a second home. Of all the players you talk about, he’ll be the one who’s OK.”
Two major names for the Spurs are guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili with both mulling over offers from respective international clubs but they’re waiting to see where the NBA lockout discussions go before making the move across the pond. For Ginobili and Parker who played a lot of international ball, there won’t be any sort of culture shock.