Sunday , Aug , 10 , 2008 Oly Sandor

The first NBA star to sign in Europe: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, or Jason Kidd?

The strong Euro and even stronger oil prices have created a wave of overseas billionaires; these wealthy men own pro teams in Greece, Italy, and Russia and are willing to overpay NBA players to be part of their newest toy. The proposed numbers are staggering. Fifty million dollars per annum could get Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and other elite talent to pull a reverse David Beckham and trade American prestige for Euro bling …


The first NBA star to sign in Europe: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, or Jason Kidd?

Commissioner David Stern’s goal for NBA globalization was to have the world celebrate his league’s top talent. However, changing economic conditions have turned those customers into competitors.

The strong Euro and even stronger oil prices have created a wave of overseas billionaires; these wealthy men own pro teams in Greece, Italy, and Russia and are willing to overpay NBA players to have them as part of their newest toy.

The proposed numbers are staggering. Fifty million dollars per annum could get Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and other elite talent to pull a reverse David Beckham and trade American prestige for Euro bling.

Eventually, a megastar will head abroad. But who’ll be the first to go?

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers.

Why he’ll leave: Money talks, especially a tax free fifty million dollars. And adjusting to the European lifestyle wouldn’t be tough for Bryant because he spent his childhood in Italy.

Why he’ll stay: The Lakers are an elite team. And Bryant wouldn’t want to pass on an NBA Title to literally become ‘Black Mamba’ in Italy.  

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers.

Why he’ll leave: Off-court, James’ goal is to replace his billionaire friend Warren Buffet as the world’s richest man. Leaving the NBA to further his goal makes some sense.

Why he’ll stay: New York, New York. In two years, the three-man could sign as an unrestricted free agent with the Knicks or Nets. And his sponsors could top up his endorsements so he’d stay in America.

Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks.

Why he’ll leave: International circles regard Kidd as a top point guard even though his game is on the decline. In Europe, he’d still get superstar love and money, with clubs matching his current 22 million dollar per year contract.

Why he’ll stay: Kidd has one year left on his massive contract. He could pull a Gary Payton by signing with a contender for less cash and then take a final run at an NBA Title. 

Who will be the first NBA superstar to sign in Europe? Bryant? James? Kidd? Or somebody else? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more basketball tidbits. Photo courtesy of mr. newhalf .