Kobe Bryant and his agent, Rob Pelinka are in preliminary talks to create a basketball tour in China this summer. Setting the stage should the lockout extend into the NBA season, for an alternative way for players to earn money. Kobe would be the headliner with several other NBA stars forming “two or three barnstorming teams.”
If the barnstorming tour happens, the games are likely to take place at the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. Bryant signed a three-year deal with Mercedes-Benz in February to become the brand ambassador for Smart micro cars in China and he has already been featured in a TV commercial for the car.
Rob Pelinka owns Landmark Sports Agency. That means automatic access for the 18 NBA players listed as clients, which includes; Clippers guard Eric Gordon, former USC star and Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo, Sixers Andre Iguodala,Thunder guard James Harden and the 2nd pick in this year’s draft, Derrick Williams.
This plan is scary smart if they can pull it off. The move generates interest outside of the U.S. AND will put money in guys pockets who may be hurting when November rolls around should a lockout still be in place. It also helps the NBA keep a little of the global momentum it’s developed. Best believe some network will negotiate a deal to air the games.
Good for the players, not so great for the owners if it succeeds.
photo via JOHN LOCHER