In case you’re the type who needs a screenprinted message on an oversized foam finger to be convinced of anything and believes the NBA Lockout is ending soon, here’s your finger: pending the ability of the team owner to actually get the money to make it happen, Kobe Bryant has agreed to play basketball in Italy.
From The Associated Press:
Italian club Virtus Bologna has reached a verbal agreement with Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant to play in Italy during the NBA lockout. The sides have settled on a $3 million contract for the opening 40 days of the Italian league season, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Friday.
Bryant, who spent much of his childhood in Italy, was in the country for sponsor appearances over the past two days but was flying back to the U.S. for labor talks with the NBA on Friday.
Bryant will get a work visa and return to Italy next week, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has still not been signed. Virtus had been due to open the season Oct. 9 against Roma, but schedules now need to be reworked after Venezia was added to the league as a 17th team.
I’m guessing “Virtus Bologna” makes the most righteous sandwiches ever.
Three million dollars for 40 days of work comes out to roughly $75,000 a day for basketball. However, Bryant was set to make $25.244 million for the 2011-12 NBA season, so the deal in Italy gives him about a $233,000 a game pay-cut. With the lockout still on with no end in sight, it beats getting a real job, or going on Twitter and joking about having to get a real job, or whatever it is players are doing now. Not sure whether or not it beats what Roy Hibbert had going at Entertainment 7wenty, but Kobe knows what he’s doing, and “actually getting paid to play basketball somewhere” is absolutely what he should be doing.