There was a lot of speculation coming into the 2015-16 NBA season about Kobe Bryant’s future with no one knowing his true intentions. Bryant was reluctant to announce this season would be his last with the Los Angeles Lakers, but was intrigued by the prospect of retiring from the NBA and ending his basketball career winning a gold medal with Team USA this summer.
Ultimately, Bryant announced his intention to retire in November and in January pulled out of the running for a spot on Mike Krzyzewski’s Team USA roster. Kobe is content with ending his career in a Lakers jersey rather than in the Olympics.
Along with Bryant taking his name out of consideration for the final roster, LeBron James may be doing the same. Apparently, LeBron may not be playing for Team USA this summer simply because Bryant won’t be his teammate, according to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:
Bryant not pursuing a spot on the U.S. Olympic basketball team this summer is a very real reason James might also not join the team, according to NBA sources.
James is that disappointed the Rio Olympics will not serve as the final, ultimate celebration of Bryant’s career—and more so that James won’t have the priceless honor of being Bryant’s co-star teammate when it ends.
James is one of the 30 finalists for the final 12-man roster for Team USA basketball. As usual, LeBron is a lock to make the final roster. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love also made the list of 30 finalists and could join their Cleveland Cavaliers teammate in August.
As for Bryant, the five-time NBA champion seems to embrace the fact his playing days are almost over. Kobe’s stance could change in the coming months if LeBron and other potential Team USA teammates lobby to get him on the squad, but as of right now, Bryant’s basketball career will come to an end on April 13 against the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center.