USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called attendance (even partial ) at this week’s minicamp mandatory to be considered for the 2016 Olympics. USA Basketball named 34 players expected to be in Las Vegas.
One name not on the list: Kobe Bryant.
But apparently the Lakers star still has a shot to represent Team USA in Rio.
Kobe Bryant has a chance to be a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, even though he is not attending Team USA’s minicamp this week, USA Basketball Executive Director Jerry Colangelo told SheridanHoops Tuesday.
“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.
Bryant and Colangelo actually discussed the possibility in June during an NBA/USAB sponsorship conference in New York. Colangelo made no promises or guarantees, but made it clear to Bryant that if he is able to compete at a high level during the 2015-16 season, the door will be open for him to return to Team USA.
Kobe won gold medals with the Americans at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He’s a decorated member of Team USA, and he deserves credit for his contributions.
Obviously, Kobe is under no obligation to stick with that plan. Likewise, Colangelo can keep this week’s minicamp as mandatory as he wants it to be.
But I’d be shocked if Kobe represents the U.S. in Rio.
He said he didn’t plan to play for a reason. He’s getting old, and that’s a taxing burden.
And it’s unlikely Kobe is good enough to deserve a roster spot, anyway. Kobe hasn’t competed at a high level for either of the prior two seasons. It’s unlikely he does next season at age 37.
The door is obviously open for Kobe to make the 2016 Olympic team, and that’s quite a revelation. But it’s still a huge longshot.