April 13, 2016 was a bittersweet day for fans of the Los Angeles Lakers when Kobe Bryant played the final game of his legendary career. Kobe went out with a historic 60-point performance, and now we are left with hours of highlights and five banners to remember his career.
Though most remember only his exploits while wearing the purple and gold, Kobe had plenty of highlights while rocking the red, white, and blue for Team USA.
Among these highlights is some behind-the-scenes footage from when Kobe led Team USA to a gold medal in 2008 (via @nbahistory Instagram):
Some may forget that Kobe was still in his prime during at this point in his career and was the leader of this team after winning his first and only MVP. Kobe went on to lead USA to gold and then followed that up with back-to-back championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.
Kobe’s intensity on and off the basketball court will be cemented in his legacy and it is apparent in the practice videos above. Bryant was at the top of his game during the 2008 Olympics and nobody was going to hold him back from leading the Redeem Team back to a gold medal. Plenty have spoken about Kobe’s impact on the Olympic Team from Coach K to fellow players like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.
There are currently no members of the Lakers on the Men’s National Team this time around, but D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram have all made a name for themselves by impressing their peers as members of the select team. The future is bright in Los Angeles and there is a possibility that the Lakers will be represented in the Olympics four years from now, depending on how their young core develops.
Though we will never see Kobe Bryant play basketball again, he has left us with an abundance of memories and highlights that we can always reflect on.