After dominating the competition in the preliminary rounds during the 2012 Olympics, Team USA advanced to the quarterfinals to face off against Australia. With Australia posing little threat to the Americans, Kobe Bryant and company are likely to advance to the next round to face Argentina.
As predicted, Team USA will likely finish this tournament in London, England on top with a second consecutive gold medal to their credit. Once the Olympics are officially in the books, questions will surface about the NBA restricting players over 23 competing internationally for Team USA and which players will return if the new rule doesn’t go into effect.
Although it remains uncertain whether or not the NBA implements this restriction moving forward, one thing has become clear with Kobe Bryant letting it be known that he won’t return for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com via Twitter, Kobe is done playing for Team USA:
Not that there was a ton of doubt, but Kobe got asked last night if this is indeed his last Olympics at 34. Kobe’s response: “This is it”
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 7, 2012
At 37 years-old heading into the 2016 Olympics, it was fairly obvious that Kobe wouldn’t return for another go around. Not only will Kobe be retiring from international competition with Team USA after these Olympics, but he will most likely be a year or two removed from playing in the NBA before tipoff in Brazil four years from now.
Over the past few months, Kobe has been openly talking about retiring. After playing the final two years of his current contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe intends to walk away from the NBA and may play overseas in Italy, Spain or Turkey for one more year before officially retiring from the game of basketball.
In the meantime, Laker fans better not miss a game over the next two years with Kobe possibly calling it a career after the 2013-14 NBA season and having no intention of playing for Team USA after the 2012 Olympics.