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Kobe: Playing in 2016 Olympics 'would mean the world' to me

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 9:34:00 AM America/Los_Angeles

If Kobe Bryant decides to retire at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season, he apparently wants to end his professional basketball career with a Gold medal. The Los Angeles Lakers star told the Associated Press' Tim Reynolds, that he really wants to play for the 2016 USA basketball team.

Bryant has privately told USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo that he wants to play in the 2016 Olympics so his interest in joining the team is nothing new. Colangelo has also said that Bryant is "entitled to an opportunity," even though the Lakers guard has not participated in any of the mandatory attendance Team USA's minicamps.

There is no doubt that Bryant is one of the greats and will definitely be able to provide the leadership qualities he told Reynolds about. Also, Bryant is a huge international star and will make Team USA even more of a draw in Brazil. However, there are several great young players like Klay Thompson, that have followed all of Colangelo's mandatory rules for Team USA and are in contention for a spot on the Olympic roster. If Colangelo sticks to his 12-person roster and selects Bryant, it will force someone like Thompson being left off the roster.

This is of course Colangelo's and coach Mike Krzyzewski's decision to make. A decision that could allow Bryant to retire with a Gold meal hanging from neck, giving the perfect storybook ending to a Hall-of-Fame career.

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