Never satisfied with twiddling his thumbs, Lakers star Kobe Bryant has an ace up his sleeve in the event that the NBA lockout doesn’t fix itself soon. Per Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Derrick Williams words to the L.A. Times, Bryant could be spearheading an NBA “barnstorming” tour in China, a movement that would feature two or three squads comprised of elite NBA talent playing exhibition matches in Shanghai. Bryant and Williams share a common thread in agent Rob Pelinka, whose Landmark Sports Agency represents an impressive list of ballers including Clippers Eric Gordon and Chris Kamen, Chicago Bull Carlos Boozer and Memphis Grizzly O.J. Mayo.
The NBA, Nike and China have had a prosperous history together, so an event like this shouldn’t come as a surprise. China is a basketball-crazed country and a chance to see some top-tier talent is only going to nurture more interest. Already regarded as the most popular basketball player in the country, Bryant is only going to boost his celebrity in a land of millions. Whatever the motivation behind it, this exhibition tour is going to pay serious dividends for everybody involved.
Match that with Pelinka’s stable of athletes and one can only imagine which other players are set to get involved. By spearheading the movement, Kobe’s involvement seems to have swayed Amar’e Stoudemire. All of my wildest, most far-fetched NBA fantasies seem to be in play here. Imagine Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook in the same backcourt? Nike, Kobe, whoever… please, just make it happen.