Fans of Kobe Bryant hoping to see him in Rio de Janiero for the 2016 Olympics received disappointing news this week. The 34-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star confirmed that London will be the end of the road for his Olympic play, according to a tweet from Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
It would've been Bryant's third Olympic Games; he first joined the team that won Gold in Beijing in 2008. He turned down an invitation to play at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney because he was getting married and, ironically, could not compete in the 2004 Olympics in Athens because of a legal case involving a woman in Colorado who claimed he sexually assaulted her.
Although he won't be competing internationally at the Olympic level, Bryant also made headlines this week after telling Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that he won't rule out playing in Europe once he retires from the NBA.
According to Wojnarowski, Bryant will fulfill the remaining two years on his Lakers contract -- he is set to become the highest paid player in the NBA next season at $27 million for the year -- and then consider his options. Bryant spent part of his childhood in Italy and said of the possibility of playing there, "It would be natural for me to go do it. It wouldn't be a stretch at all. I grew up here."