“It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” said Bryant, who recently told head coach Bryon Scott that this could be his last season in the NBA. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”
While Bryant has not participated in any of Team USA’s mandatory minicamps this year, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said he is “entitled to an opportunity” with the team.
Bryant, who helped lead Team USA to the gold medal in the 2008 and 2012 Games, has not announced any plans for retirement from the NBA. However, he recently expressed frustration with his level of play this season.
He told reporters on Saturday that he was open to playing again next year, but “if you asked [him] today, this would be [his] last year.”
Bryant, 37, is in the final year of his contract with the Lakers and is averaging 16.5 points per game with 3.5 rebounds and a 32.0% field goal percentage through six games.
The Lakers, who are 1–5, will play the Miami Heat on Tuesday.
- Kayla Lombardo