Why Kobe Bryant Shouldn't Take His Talents to Turkey During the NBA Lockout
Seref Yalcin, Besitkas’ Head of Basketball Operations, recently said there’s a 50 percent chance the five-time champion plays in Turkey. Yalcin plans to meet with the NBA’s sixth highest scorer of all time on July 30.
While Kobe playing overseas during the lockout sounds intriguing—and might help increase pressure on the owners—there are more negatives than positives involved.
Here are some reasons why his talents shouldn’t be taken to Turkey.
Kobe Would Be Risking Injury
Kobe’s spent a lot of time on a basketball court.
The Black Mamba’s played 15 seasons in the NBA, logging heavy postseason minutes, and he was a major part of the United States team that won gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, after winning the 2007 FIBA qualifying tournament.
The soon-to-be 33-year-old recently traveled to Germany for a blood transfusion procedure, hoping to rejuvenate his legs.
Kobe’s career has been littered with nagging injuries. An extended off-season could do him wonders.
It Could Hurt Kobe's Chase of Michael Jordan
According to Phil Jackson, Kobe has a strong desire to surpass Michael Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
No matter how much Kobe scores in Turkey, not a single point will be added to his current total of 27,868.
His decline from prime form appears to have already begun, but he could feasibly pass Jordan’s total—32,292—over the course of three healthy seasons.
It would be wise to his save energy until the NBA returns to best position himself for eclipsing his idol.
Turkish League Talent Is Much Weaker Than the NBA's
If Kobe joins Besitkas, playing in the Turkish League will hinder his game.
While Kobe probably won’t have to expend as much effort against opponents in Turkey, he’ll eventually have to adjust back to the NBA’s speed and talent.
Besides Deron Williams, Kobe’s teammates will be of lower quality. What if Williams gets injured and Kobe has to carry the team? Expectations for him to put up 50 points a game and dominate completely will surface.
Wherever Kobe plays basketball, his competitive nature goes with him—which, in this case, could tire him out or result in an injury.
Kobe Doesn't Need the Money
Kobe Bryant’s a very rich man. Even with the NBA in a work stoppage, major endorsement deals will still send him checks.
While money probably isn’t the determining issue whether or not Kobe joins Besitkas, he is asking for $1 million a month. Every penny earned from the Turkish club would be tax-free, so he’d be getting roughly $430,000 more than if it came from within the United States.
Kobe’s made enough in his career to easily survive the ongoing lockout and will have tremendous monetary opportunities while the NBA’s doors are closed—especially if he’s getting paid $400,000 to play in an exhibition game.
However, there are numerous players who will struggle to get by and may view Bryant’s move as a slap in the face.
The Style of Play Is Different from the NBA's
International basketball has a different style of play from the NBA.
With less spacing, slowed-down offensive sets and a heavy emphasis on ball rotation, it could take time for Kobe to get accustomed.
Fans may want last decade’s best player to put on a spectacle whenever he touches the ball, which could make the two-time scoring champion go against the wishes of his Besitkas teammates and coaches.
Kobe Could Get Too Used to Playing with Deron Williams
Kobe’s potential backcourt mate in Besitkas is one of the NBA’s best point guards.
Throughout Kobe’s career, he’s never been paired up with an elite, even All-Star quality, point guard. The best point man he played alongside with was Gary Payton, who had already passed his prime.
Kobe could get very used to having Williams on his team, which might lead to constant frustration with Los Angeles’s point guards after the NBA returns.
If Kobe does play for Besitkas and can’t convince Williams to join the Lakers as a free agent, Derek Fisher and Steve Blake need to find a genie who can inject them with talent—or at least the Monstars from Space Jam who know how to steal it.