Bryant turns down offer to play for Barcelona

U.S. Olympic basketball player Kobe Bryant © Gustau Nacarino
NBA legend Kobe Bryant has rejected an offer to continue his basketball career in Europe with FC Barcelona.

According to a report in Spanish sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo, the Los Angeles Lakers' five-time NBA champion was approached by FC Barcelona, but turned down the offer.

Bryant, who previously lived in Europe for eight years, told club officials last July he wanted to finish his career at Barca alongside Paul Gasol.

The duo won NBA titles together in 2009 and 2010, but Bryant knocked back Barcelona's offer after doubting his own fitness for a full Euroleague season.

The 37-year-old has struggled with injuries over the past three years, and his points per game average of 16.6 this season is a far cry from his career high of 35.4 in 2005/06.

Bryant is still the NBA's highest-paid player with a salary of $25 million this season, his 20th in the NBA.

He has deals with Nike, Lenovo, Hublot and Panini, but is moving away from endorsement deals in favor of getting into business.

In 2013, Bryant set up Kobe Inc., with the company investing around $5 million a year later to buy over 10 percent of emerging sports drink, BodyArmor.

Bryant will sit on BodyArmour's board of directors and focus on the marketing and branding of the product.

He has said he plans to be operating fully as a businessman by his 38th birthday in August.

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