Bryant to play in charity soccer event

It remains unclear if Kobe Bryant will actually play competitively overseas, but there's at least one additional venture he'll partake in to enhance his footwork.

The Los Angeles Lakers star, a Newport Coast resident, is listed as one of the participants planning to play in the Celebrity Soccer Challenge Sunday at Kastles Stadium in Washington D.C., an event sponsored by former U.S. women's soccer player Mia Hamm and her husband, ex-Dodger Nomar Garciaparra.

Bryant's certainly no stranger to the pitch, as he played soccer growing up in Italy and is an avid fan of the Premier League's Barcelona and the Brazilian national team. He also attended the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

But the timing is particularly interesting simply because an official from the Turkish basketball team Besiktas told reporters this week that the organization planned to talk with Bryant's representatives Saturday in hopes that he will team with Deron Williams during the NBA lockout. Bryant's planned appearance in the charity soccer game would take place one week after playing in a pair of exhibition games in the Philippines.

— Mark Medina, from the Los Angeles Times' Lakers Blog

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