In a chat with reporters before the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center Monday night, Kobe Bryant said he had no intention of changing his mind and suiting up for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics.
"I’ll go and spectate," Bryant said, according to Bulls.com's Sam Smith. He then added, with a smile, "Maybe I’ll go watch Pau win another silver."
Bryant was addressing the topic because Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau — a Team USA assistant for the 2016 Olympics in Rio — told reporters that he might try to convince Bryant to play. Though Bryant dismissed the idea of playing, he did say he would entertain the conversation from Thibodeau.
"He can try all he wants," Bryant said. "I love Tibs. That conversation with him would be more than welcome."
Bryant will be 38 in 2016. He is currently recovering from a left knee injury, and he'll have an MRI in February to determine the extent of progress on his recovery. He suffered the injury just weeks after returning to the court following a torn Achilles tendon.
During the 2012 Olympics in London, Bryant said that those Games would be his last as a player. Even last year, he served as more of a role player and deferred to stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant.
Kobe on Thibodeau convincing him to play '16 Olym.: "He can try all he wants. I love Tibs. That convers. w/ him would be more than welcome."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 21, 2014
Kobe says he won't play in the 2016 Olympics, but he might attend as a spectator to "see Pau win another silver medal"DOLLINGER: SI's NBA Power Rankings>
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 21, 2014