Report: Kobe turned down overture to play for Barcelona in Euroleague

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 6:43 PM

Latest summer, the LA Lakers' five-time NBA winner was offered a contract by European club FC Barcelona and a chance to prolong his basketball career overseas, but Bryant politely turned the proposal down, according to a report in Spanish sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo.

Report: Kobe turned down overture to play for Barcelona in Euroleague

Kobe Bryant chose to shape his post-basketball life, instead of taking a shot at a Euroleague title.

Latest summer, the LA Lakers' five-time NBA winner was offered a contract by European club FC Barcelona and a chance to prolong his basketball career overseas, but Bryant politely turned the proposal down, according to a report in Spanish sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo.

Senior executive at the Catalan club ramped up their overtures toward Bryant after hearing him talk about ending his basketball career with Spanish large man Pau Gasol at the club that doubles as his favorite soccer team, according to the report.

In July, club executive said Kobe told them he "would like to finish my career playing for Barca with Pau Gasol," the former Lakers teammate with whom Bryant won NBA titles in two thousand-ninth and 2010.

Bryant spent his childhood in Europe and has frequently expressed his admiration for European players, but the 37-year-old resisted latest year'south Barcelona pursuit because, according to the report, he said he didn't know if he could count on a rebound in his health and doubted he could stay mostly healthy for the all grueling Euroleague season.

Mundo Deportivo said Bryant passed on an proposal from Barcelona to compete exclusively for the club in the more high-profile Euroleague games, which pit up to eighteen of the best basketball teams in Europe against one another every season.

Bryant then announced in Nov that he'd retire after this NBA season and finish his 20-year career with the Lakers. He's below contract with the Lakers as the NBA'south highest-paid player this season, with a $25 million salary.

Bryant hasn't commented publicly about Mundo Deportivo'south report, but he's in the past spoken to ESPN about his intentions to start his post-NBA career as a businessman.

In an exclusive two thousand fourteen interview with ESPN, Bryant revealed that he'd formed a company called Kobe Inc. and was building a team around him to start new businesses and assess investing in others.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP'south past three seasons have ended early due to injuries, and he played in only forty-one games the previous two seasons. He's struggled significantly in the first seventy-two games of this season, with mostly youthful teammates on a rebuilding roster. Bryant is averaging 16.6 points a game and dealing with pain and exhaustion virtually every day.

Bryant, who lived in Europe for eight years and is an avid soccer fan, has made multiple visits to the Catalan city to look Barcelona in action.

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