Wait—you really thought Kobe Bryant was going to hang 'em up after this year?

Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears recently did a Q&A with the Black Mamba, and one of the most surprising quotes involves Kobe's openness toward finishing his career in Italy or China:

Q: After growing up in Italy and spending time in China, could you see yourself ending your career playing at either place?
Kobe: “I can see myself doing that. 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.”

There has been great speculation concerning how one of the greatest shooting guards to ever touch a basketball will end his career, so the possibility of Kobe playing in Italy or China in the coming years is obviously big news. His staggering popularity in China is well documented, and we're thinking he could command an impressive payday by taking his talents to the People's Republic.

Laker fans can't be excited to learn that one of their greatest heroes may be leaving the country altogether, but surely they'll take that over seeing Jellybean, Jr. in a Spurs or Clippers jersey.

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[via Yahoo]