After leading the United States to the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Kobe Bryant is one step closer to being back on the squad in 2012.
During a conference call this morning, Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski announced the 20 finalists for this summer’s Olympics.
Bryant, who was the leader for the team in 2008, may see a reduced role this time around. But as Kryzewski stated, that doesn’t mean his role will change too much.
“I like the balance that we will have with youth. We have players right in their prime and veteran players. I guess with Kobe’s case he’s always at his prime.”
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Still, with Bryant’s recent injury history there is some concern that he might have to take a reduced role on Team USA. But there’s no question that Coach K has Bryant’s health in mind.
“We don’t want to put him in any jeopardy whatsoever. And we won’t.”
While Bryant may be four years older than he was in 2008, he’s still ready to go this summer.
Kryzewski, however, isn’t worried about Bryant.
“It’s not a bad thing to have [Bryant] as your oldest guy.”
Here is the complete 20-man preliminary roster. It will be narrowed down to the final 12 players on June 18.
Guards – Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon and Dwyane Wade.
Forwards – Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Andre Iguodala, Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lamar Odom, Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh and Kevin Love.
Centers – Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler.
Who would you pick as the final 12 members for this summer’s Olympics?