Will Kobe Bryant Ride Off Into the Sunset at 2016 Rio Olympics?

Will Kobe Bryant Ride Off Into the Sunset at 2016 Rio Olympics?

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo offers open invite to hoops legend.

Published August 14, 2015

Kobe Bryant recently admitted that the upcoming 2015-16 NBA season could be the final year of his legendary career.

But if the five-time NBA champion is able to complete the Los Angeles Lakers' season without suffering an injury, wouldn't the Black Mamba celebrating a gold-medal win at the 2016 Rio Olympics be a great lasting image of the sports icon?

At the end of USA Basketball minicamp in Las Vegas on Thursday, the organization's chairman, Jerry Colangelo, said the door is open for Bryant to join the American Olympic team next summer.

"I was quoted on Kobe. In response to a question about him, I said it would be a great story if he did [play in Rio]," Colangelo told ESPN. "And so, he also mentioned to me in a private conversation that if he had his druthers, he would love to ride off into the sunset playing one more time and winning the gold medal. And that would be the end."

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If that does indeed turn out to be the case, though, Bryant wants to earn his spot on the team and not have it handed to him just because of his past accolades.

"But he was very quick to say, 'But, I don't want a spot. I need to earn the spot. I need to be capable of playing at that level to be considered,'" Colangelo added. "And I said, 'You got that. That's always there for you, Kobe.'"

In addition to Bryant, Colangelo also offered an open invite to LeBron James to join the Olympic team as well.

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(Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Written by Mark Lelinwalla

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