Kobe Bryant Will Not Play in 2016 Rio Olympics: Latest Comments and Reaction

January 16th, 2016 by Alec Nathan Leave a reply »

While Kobe Bryant and USA Basketball originally left the door open for the Black Mamba to suit up in red, white and blue for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the Los Angeles Lakers legend announced Saturday he has no plans to participate in international play this summer. 

"I think it's the young guys' turn to go and play and perform," Bryant said, per Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. Bryant also told reporters he'd prefer to "support the players from afar," according to LakersNation.com's Serena Winters.

Bryant—whose NBA career will come to a close following the 2015-16 season—cited another reason for his decision to opt out, per Trudell: 

The U.S. Olympic Team thanked Bryant for his contributions shortly after his announcement: 

One of the most ferocious competitors in NBA history, the two-time gold medalist had previously expressed interest in returning to the Olympic stage despite being mired in a shooting slump.

"It would mean the world to me to be around those guys," Bryant told the Associated Press' Tim Reynolds ...

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