Kobe Bryant was surprised during yesterday’s game against France by one very special guest in attendance, Michelle Obama. The First Lady of the United States of America watched Team USA play their game and waited until afterwards to meet the NBA stars. With a exuberant grin on his face, Bryant couldn’t wait for his turn in front of Ms. Obama. It is pretty remarkable the stakes that exist in the Olympics; instead of playing for your specific team, Bryant and the rest of Team USA have the chance to represent an entire country, bringing to them fans like Michelle Obama. But we all know she is a huge basketball fan; her brother is the head coach of Oregon State University.
Kobe Bryant also weighed in this morning on a question many have been asking over the past few Olympic games. As of this point, the American basketball players do not get paid for international basketball appearances, but some believe they should be compensated. Even though the Olympic basketball players are sponsored by large companies like Nike, they do not get a share of the profits. Millions of fans buy their jerseys, but the NBA athletes cannot take advantage of their world-wide fame. Bryant, like many others, believes some compensation should take place. He pointed out, however, that although they do not, he and his teammates are honored to represent the USA, and none of them would turn down the opportunity over the issue of money.
What do you think? Should Team USA be compensated for their efforts, or is part of the Olympic experience sacrificing a salary to fight for your country on the athletic arena? What say you Lakers Nation?
For some more Kobe reading, check out Suki Thind’s piece on how this Olympic game is a precursor to the coming Lakers season for Bryant. Not only had Kobe shed 20 pounds, but his role with this US team is different. Suki does a great job of analyzing these differences and predicting what could be coming this 2012-2013 season.
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