It looks like Josh Childress may not be the highest-paid player in Europe for long. In last Sunday’s NEW YORK TIMES, Olympiakos co-owner Panayiotis Angelopoulos issued a warning to NBA clubs thinking their players would stay stateside, saying (emphasis ours), “I think we’ll see a day when a superstar player comes to Europe, but to Olympiacos, not to another team,” he said. “That is my answer. Maybe it will be very soon. Maybe then you realize what I’m telling you is serious.”
Guess what? It appears that Olympiacos is, in fact, serious, as reports are surfacing that the club is preparing an offer for Kobe Bryant. We’re talking 60 million Euro (about $83 million right now) over 3 years. THE HOOP has more details on the perks of the contract, and they are pretty damned nice:
In that contract there will be an incredible list of benefits, a villa in the Mediterranean Sea, pay all the taxes at the expense of the club, to pay the bills for the staff and for a private boat for Kobe Bryant. The article also says that they are planning to form Olympiakos into an NBA style club with a court that fits 15-20 thousand seats and a private jet for the team.
Let’s see, get treated like a king in one of the most beautiful countries in the world while balling against, er, inconsistent competition, or have Phil Jackson yell at you while Sasha Vujacic bricks another 19-footer? Seems like the decision would be pretty easy.
And really, it’s not as if there’s an avalanche of reasons for Kobe to stay over here. He’s already got rings and an MVP award. If you think winning an NBA title as the #1 guy would sate his ego, well A: not for long, and B: not nearly as much as becoming the Michael Jordan of Europe.
To act as if there’s no precedence for a movie like this would be shortsighted. Kobe’s arrival would be a mix of the arrivals of David Beckham and Pele in American soccer, as Kobe’s not nearly as old as Pele but not nearly as ineffectual as Beckham. Quick aside, totally hypothetical here, but if people come to your hypothetical soccer games just to look for your hypothetical alien stick wife while you sit on the hypothetical bench, you are not hypothetically helping the sport.
Anyway, Kobe’s under contract for another three years, so it’s not like we’ve seen him play his last game as a Laker unless a freak farm accident severs both Kobe’s legs (and what would he be doing on a farm in the first place, anyway?). Laker brass should be awfully wary, though, as the allure of being credited for taking high-level professional basketball worldwide might be too much for Bryant to resist. It’s going to be someone, and it’s going to be soon.