Kobe Bryant left open the possibility of finishing his career in Europe, where he dad played professionally. (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who spent part of his childhood in Europe while his dad played basketball professionally in Italy, may finish his career overseas, he told Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Bryant has two years left on his current contract with the Lakers. After that, he has said he would consider retirement. But in his interview with Wojnarowski, he left open the possibility of playing a year in Europe.
"It would be natural for me to go do it," Bryant told Wojnarowski. "It wouldn't be a stretch at all. I grew up here."
..."You'd have to look at the market and what's going on in terms of the level of basketball being played," Bryant said. "I understand there's a high level of competitive basketball in Turkey now. They might have the best league in Europe. Spain has obviously been one of the top leagues for a long time.
"And Italy is a place that's dear in my heart, I grew up there, but the level is not where it used to be. When I was growing up over there, that was the best league in Europe."
Bryant speaks Spanish and Italian, and he had considered playing in China and Italy during the NBA lockout. At 33, Bryant still plays at an elite level, and he may not want to leave the Lakers if they are a title contender in two seasons.
Bryant averaged 27.9 points per game last season.