Kobe Bryant's hint at post-Lakers playing career will surprise fans

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With Kobe Bryant having spent more time on the sidelines that the hardwood in recent seasons, not to mention the fact that he will be 37 years of age by the time the 2015-16 NBA season gets under way, there has been much talk about whether the new campaign will be the Black Mamba's last in professional basketball.

His current contract with the Lakers will be at an end next June and, with a trade market on the multi-time All-Star recently valued at "zero", it would take a brave man to predict Kobe goes on to play for another NBA franchise.

New team, new country?

But, speaking during his now annual tour of Asia, Bryant surprised some by admitting that he could see himself continuing his career away from Los Angeles. In fact, a long way from Los Angeles.


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Taking part in a Q&A session with Yahoo Sports' Mark J. Spears, Kobe Bryant was asked whether he could see himself taking his talents to Italy or China after next season.

"I can see myself doing that," came the Lakers star's response.

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"I can see myself doing a lot of stuff. That's a whole other question. I will make some decisions when I decide to hang it up."

Valid options

Of course, Italy and China aren't just two random locations. For Kobe they hold a special place in his heart.

The veteran grew up in Italy as his father sought to make his own way in professional basketball, whilst Bryant is so phenomenally popular in China that the reaction of the countries population to his 2015 visit was compared to Beatlemania of the 1960s.

Whether Kobe Bryant would actually take the plunge and sign for a foreign team remains to be seen. If he has the will to carry on behond the upcoming season, why would he choose to do it away from his beloved Lakers and the NBA - the only league that can offer him a chance to extend his legacy?

Lakers fans: Should Kobe Bryant retire after the 2015-16 NBA season? Have your say in the comments below...

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