SBJ/December 20 - 26, 1999/No Topic Name

Bryant courts Europe

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will use his new status as Italian basketball team owner to broaden his relationship with his sponsors and potentially find new ones, said Bryant's agent, Arn Tellem.

Bryant announced last week that he bought a 50 percent stake in Olimpia Milano, an Italian Professional Basketball League team. The value of the deal was not announced, but a source said Bryant paid $3 million to $4 million.

Tellem said Bryant will spend several weeks a year in Milan, which will allow him to spend time with his existing sponsors and may make him more appealing as an endorser to European companies.

"Most of the companies he is involved with are global," Tellem said.

Bryant's corporate relationships include Adidas, BroadBand Sports, Columbia Records, GTE, Mattel, Nintendo and Spalding.

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