LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Will Kobe Bryant’s swan song be a gold hit?
Bryant reportedly told USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo he “would love to ride off into the sunset” by winning a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“And so, he also mentioned to me in a private conversation that if he had his druthers, he playing one more time and winning the gold medal. And that would be the end,” Colangelo was quoted as saying.
Nearing his 37th birthday and entering his 20th – and possibly final – season in the NBA, Bryant has previously won gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics, along with other future Hall of Famers including LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony.
But with nearly two full NBA seasons lost to injuries, Bryant apparently knows questions still linger surrounding his durability – a question Colangelo reportedly said Bryant wants to answer once and for all.
“He was very quick to say, ‘But, I don’t want a spot. I need to earn the spot. I need to be capable of playing at that level to be considered,'” Colangelo said. “And I said, ‘You got that. That’s always there for you, Kobe.'”
There may be at least one obstacle: Bryant was reportedly not in attendance at a recent three-day minicamp held in Vegas which, according to CBS Sports, “anyone that wanted to play in next summer’s Olympics had to attend”.
Despite Bryant’s absence, Colangelo appeared open to considering Bryant for a Team USA stop, even though more deserving players “like Klay Thompson followed Colangelo’s rules by attending the minicamp.”
The final 12-man roster for Rio is expected to be finalized after the 2016 NBA Draft.