There have been constant questions surrounding Kobe Bryant and whether or not this will really be his final season. Bryant recently revealed that if asked right now, he would say this would be his last year, but he still has refused to officially announce that this will be the end.
Even if Bryant was to retire from the NBA this season, his international basketball career may not be over. Bryant told Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press that he would love to be a part of the 2016 Olympic Team in Rio:
It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” Bryant said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”
Bryant has spoken about wanting to be a part of the team before and has always maintained that he would want to make the squad if he’s good enough, and not just be given a spot because of his legacy.
The competition to make the 2016 team is expected to be extremely fierce, especially among the guards and wings. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, James Harden, and Klay Thompson are just a few of the wings hoping to make the roster.
If he were to make the team after retiring from the NBA, he would not be the first to do so. Magic Johnson had already retired from the NBA before playing for the 1992 Dream Team while Larry Bird retired shortly after those same Olympics.