Yahoo!: When he faces the most controversial decision of his career over the next few years, Kobe Bryant could find advice and inspiration from an unexpected source.
Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar, has stated his intention to test the waters in Europe at the end of his current deal in 2011 and indicated he may be prepared to walk away from the NBA and seek a lucrative contract across the Atlantic.
NBA players have made the switch to Europe before. Dominique Wilkins did it in the 1990s and 2004 lottery pick Josh Childress left the Atlanta Hawks this summer to play in Greece.
However, if Bryant was to make the same move it would be a truly ground-breaking development, a global icon stepping into the unknown and potentially spawning a seismic change in the established order of North American professional basketball.
The only sporting parallel that can realistically be drawn is with Beckham.
Fifteen months ago, the world’s most famous soccer player left arguably the biggest club on the planet, Real Madrid, in order to join the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. In doing so, Beckham put an entire league on the map, earned himself an astronomical sum of money and generated heated discussion about the pros and cons of his shock relocation.