Kobe Bryant not playing in Rio Olympics

A shade under two months ago, Kobe Bryant scored 60 points to cap an illustrious NBA career. Through the eyes of basketball fans everywhere, it was the perfect way for Bryant to go out. We as fans got to see the Kobe Bryant we loved or hated. In Kobe’s words, it was a “sh*tty season” but for one last time, the Mamba led the Lakers to a comeback victory. As stated above, the perfect way to go out. Bryant was done with basketball, we assumed. But is he?

Yes, he is. Multiple players pulling out of the Olympics caused fans to conjure up the thought of Bryant lacing them up for one last time. Maybe KB would find his way onto the USA Olympic Team in Rio this summer, but that pipe-dream was shot down faster than the Chris Paul trade.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that Kobe Bryant will not try to ride off into the Brazillian sunset at the Summer Games. It could’ve been yet another accolade for Bryant, but it seems he would rather be a star in Hollywood than Rio de Janeiro. This is the right decision for Bryant, who had to go through a full day of prep just to get onto the court and play for a team who could barely muster up 17 winning efforts.

We can look back on his career knowing that Kobe Bryant was a winner, both in the NBA and internationally. As the doors officially close on Bryant’s USA basketball career, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle’s are just beginning. (Brandon Ingram, too.)  Maybe teaching Russell how to be the same animal, but a different beast, would be a better use of Kobe’s time as he begins his post-basketball life.

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