Kobe Bryant: Could Playing Overseas Diminish His Legacy with the LA Lakers?

Recently Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant's agent said the young star would consider playing overseas if the NBA lockout continues to linger, adding his name to a list of stars that includes New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams and is sure to grow if the work stoppage persists.

In my opinion stars who consider playing overseas publicly are only hurling idle threats at the NBA's owners, since a lost NBA regular season has the potential to kill the NBA as we know it.

America's love affair with the NBA is much more fragile than similar relationships with the NFL and MLB, as professional basketball players are usually viewed as the most spoiled and over-paid athletes by the general public.

Basketball players are also in a more exclusive club since teams have fewer players than professional football and baseball, and it's always easier to identify with a sport that you may have had an opportunity to play.

Fans love to marvel at the skill and athleticism of today's NBA players, but many of those same fans actually had the chance to play football or baseball at least on the high school level and that generates a level of interest basketball can never match.

Younger stars like Durant and Williams defecting to Europe could turn novice fans away from the NBA, but they are also both young enough to play a role in what is sure to be a long revival for the league if the 2011-12 season is lost.

But for an aging star like Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant a lost season is much harder to replace at this stage in his career, and there is a possibility that playing overseas could diminish his career as a Laker.

Bryant has not been as vocal as some of his peers about the prospects of playing elsewhere if the lockout continues to linger, but he has contemplated about playing in Europe in the past.

I can appreciate a player's desire to stay in game shape, and c...

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