After 20 years in the NBA playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant plans to call it a career following the 2015-16 NBA season. Ever since making the announcement that he plans to retire after the season, Bryant hasn’t wavered on his decision to call it quits.
Although Bryant has no intention of continuing his basketball career once his 20th season with the Lakers comes to an end, former NBA star Stephon Marbury thinks Kobe should consider playing overseas in China.
Bryant is incredibly popular in China, and Marbury believes the five-time NBA champion has a chance to capitalize on that before retiring from basketball via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:
“They love him here. It is a little bit past love. It would be like the biggest thing ever in basketball here,” Marbury told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “It would be beyond huge. Beyond big. I would definitely encourage it. …
“They love basketball here. You can’t control the excitement.”
Marbury was a two-time All-Star during his time in the NBA, but didn’t find real success until he began playing in China. With three CBA championships to his credit, Marbury has become a superstar with the Beijing Ducks and widely regarded as one of the best players in China.
At this point, the only chance Bryant extends his basketball career beyond his final game with the Lakers is with Team USA during the 2016 Olympics. If Kobe can stay healthy throughout his 20th season in Los Angeles, the superstar will compete for a spot on the roster.
Unlike in years past, Bryant’s spot on Team USA isn’t guaranteed nor does he want to be given a spot without earning it. Although Kobe will attempt to play in the Olympics one more time, playing in China may be a stretch.