Italy-based Corriere de Bologna, via Sky News, is today looking back nostalgically at those crazy days of the NBA player lockout – seems like forever ago, doesn’t it? – in quoting from an interview given by Kobe Bryant in Italian vis-à-vis the long flirtation Virtus Bologna and president Claudio Sabbatini carried on with the Los Angeles Laker while awaiting the delayed 2011-12 season opener.

“It was all true,” Corriere quotes Kobe as stating. “It was not a hoax.” Kobe goes on to say that “As I’ve said many times, I would be happy to one day play in the Italian League; it’s a dream I had as a child…”

The Corriere goes on to cite inside sources as explaining that Sabbatini & Co. could not compromise with Bryant’s representative Rob Pelinka on the nature of the games Kobe would have played. Sabbatini’s plan was mostly planned as being “a kind of occasional collaboration” because the club was having serious problems with the league’s standard labor contract and therein that old bugaboo, taxes.

Concluded Kobe’s thoughts on playing in Europe: “I was really looking forward to starting this adventure in Italy, but then things in the NBA settled down and the season started after the lockout, so [my return to] Italy did not materialize. But there is still time in the future.”

Still time, eh? We can wait…

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