Kobe Bryant wasn’t in Las Vegas for the USA Basketball minicamp, and considering his three consecutive season-ending injuries, the Los Angeles Lakers legend has been an afterthought when it comes to making Team USA for the 2016 Olympics. But could Kobe actually make the team?
Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops revealed a few days ago that USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo had conversations in June about the possibility:
“If he had a great year, it would be a great story for him to try to close out his career by winning a gold medal,” Colangelo said.
Then there’s this:
Colangelo says that Kobe told him he'd like to "ride out to the sunset" with a gold in Rio, but he wants to earn the spot, not be handed it
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) August 14, 2015
Now, considering his age, injuries and play last season when healthy, it’s hard to imagine Bryant actually making the team based on merit. If he somehow turned back the clock and stayed healthy, then maybe. But the competition will be stiff.
What if Bryant is healthy enough to play but isn’t that good next year? Would USA Basketball still just give him a spot anyway as a lifetime achievement award of sorts? Would he accept that spot over somebody more deserving?
On one hand, it would be cool to see a healthy Kobe in the red, white and blue one more time. On the other hand, it would really stink for a deserving younger guy to get snubbed just to let Kobe on the team. We’ll see how this upcoming season plays out and find out if Kobe can make a good case for himself.