Kobe Bryant

ROME, October 13, 2011 (AFP) – Bologna president Claudio Sabatini has stepped up his attempts to land NBA star Kobe Bryant on a loan deal by taking his case right to the top.

Sabatini has written to United States President Barack Obama, a renowned basketball fan, to ask him to intervene and help convince Bryant to join the Italian side, if only for a single exhibition match.

“Dear Mr. President, we have a dream: to see Kobe Bryant playing for our Team Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna, the Italian town well known in the world as basket City,” read the message which was also published on the team’s official website.

“According to your wishes we hope that the NBA lockout will shortly stop but in the meanwhile let us have the chance to see at least for one game the great Kobe Bryant playing with our black and white jersey and be part of our history.”

The NBA season was due to start at the beginning of November but has been postponed for at least two weeks as teams and players have failed to agree terms on a new collective contract.

Bologna were hoping to take advantage of the impasse by convincing Bryant to come and play a few games for the team in the Italian top flight.

But negotiations have stalled, leading to Sabatini to take this latest drastic measure.