FROM purple and gold to red, white, and blue.
Despite recent announcement of his plans to retire at the end of the 2015-16 NBA season, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant may still have a last hurrah to close his historic career: playing for the US in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“Kobe is one of 34 players in the U.S. men's national team pool,” said Team USA representative Craig Miller.
From the 34-man pool, only 12 will be chosen to represent Team USA in Rio. And according to a report from TMZ Sports, the 37-year old star’s selection “will come down to Kobe's health and the overall composition of the team.”
Having played for 20 seasons, Bryant has dealt with several injuries and the accumulated effect has obviously taken a toll on his performance on the court.
But despite his declining production, the 37-year-old guard is still being considered for Team USA’s Olympic roster as a nod to his contributions to the USA Basketball program.
“Kobe's been involved with the national team since 2007,” Miller said, according to TMZ. “It's not like he has to prove himself.”
USA basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo also told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein on Nov. 29 that Bryant ‘remains in contention’ for a spot on the team.
Last month, Bryant told the Associated Press that he is interested in playing one last time for the USA.
“It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” said Byant, who is a two-time gold medalist after playing an important role in the 2008 and 2012 teams that beat Spain in consecutive finals.
“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.”