Kobe Bryant is one of the best players to ever play in the NBA. I get it.
However, that does not entitle him to a roster spot on the 2016 USA Basketball team for the Rio Olympics. Bryant said last week that he wanted to play for USA Basketball one more time during the Olympics.
It makes sense that Bryant’s farewell tour should be abroad. Just look at how China and other places around the world go hysterical when Bryant visits their nation. He also grew-watching his father play oversees.
Plus, it is Coach Mike Kryzewski’s last season as coach of Team USA. He and Bryant could finish their International careers together.
Again, none of that equals a roster spot on the world’s greatest basketball squad. Bryant’s roster spot could be an opportunity for another young superstar.
Look at some of the best break-out players the past few yesrs.
This season, Victor Oladipo and Andre Drummond are taking the next step as franchise players after playing in the USA Basketball mini-camp this summer. Even stars like Kahwi Leonard and Blake Griffin are showing improvement in their games after the few days spent in Vegas.
All these players shared a common experience with USA Basketball. Why do these players grow their game after working out with USA Basketball?
It is a unique experience even from their day jobs as NBA superstars. The level of competition and mental preparation are both elevated.
These players spend a few weeks competing everyday with the best players in the NBA. These players get world-class coaching.
Hence, Byrant’s roster spot should go to a player more deserving. Bryant has already been there and done that. He already has two Olympic gold medals.
Of course many cite Bryant’s role as a mentor to young players on the 2012 roster. ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne described Bryant as the “Godfather” on that 2012 roster. After the 2015 USA Basketball Showcase, she told radio listeners about each star taking turns by visiting with Bryant.
The reality is, Bryant should save his mentorship role for his young Los Angeles Lakers team. USA Basketball is reserved for the best players in the world. If Bryant can earn his way on the roster than so be it.
Unfortunately, present-day Kobe is no longer in that upper-tier of players. He shoots 30 percent and averages less than 20 points on a 1-7 basketball club.
Talent-wise, there are plenty of other NBA players who are younger and more deserving of representing the USA in Rio than Kobe. All of those 15 roster spots should go to deserving players and no one, including Bryant, should get grandfathered in.
Bryant is one Pro Sports best competitors, so he must understand being left off the roster. He even said he was 200th best player.
Therefore, the Bryant farewell tour should not make a stop for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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