Bryant Soaking Up Olympic Experience

LONDON – The Olympic experience means different things to different athletes.

There are nearly 15,000 of them here competing, and none more recognizable than the elder statesman of the U.S. Men’ Senior National Team, Kobe Bryant, who is competing in the Summer Games for the second straight time.

Unlike many of his fellow athletes, Bryant has to pick and choose his spots when trying to enjoy the city and the Games, what with millions of people filling the streets and transit routes on their way to and from events — as well as sightseeing.

For a player who has experienced most everything basketball has to offer, Bryant savors these days and moments at this stage of his career. After years of NBA superstardom, Bryant has mastered the art of blending into a big crowd in a big city at night. And he’s already squeezed a little sightseeing in around London.

“I walked around a little bit last night, walked right by Big Ben and stuff,” Bryant said. “Got a chance to hang out a little bit. Actually, at night-time the cool breeze feels pretty good.”

He got recognized plenty, but kept it moving for the most part.

“I walk really fast, I walk really fast,” he said with a smile. “And at night-time when you got the hoodie on, it’s pretty good.”

Bryant did the same in Barcelona when the U.S. Team played exhibition games there, avoiding the crush of the crowd as best he could while trying to steal a few minutes to enjoy some the surroundings.

“It really depends on how fast you walk,” he said. “You have to walk really fast. Sometimes they’ll do a little double take, and by the time they’re doing the double take you’re already like a half a mile up the road.”

For a player who grew up in Italy, there are parts of the European lifestyle that Bryant misses these days. Especially considering his mere presence can cause a rock star-like stir in most any setting.

“I can’t do that and yeah, I do miss it,” he said of being able to sit at a cafe and relax like anyone else. “I grew up in that slow place being able to just chill and run around as a kid, play soccer and just be out there and in touch with one another. It’s tough [not being able to do that anymore].”

Some of his teammates marvel at his ability to compartmentalize as others make such a fuss about and around him.

“I honestly don’t know how he and LeBron [James] do it,” Kevin Love said. “They get the rock star treatment everywhere we go. It was like that in Las Vegas, in Washington D.C., in Manchester and Barcelona and now here. It’s the same thing that happens when they come to Minnesota during the NBA season.  It’s non-stop attention and adulation, and as much as we love doing this and love the life that this affords us and our families, I can’t imagine dealing with it on that level 365 days a year for 24 hours a day.”

Bryant knows that he won’t have to put up with it, at this level, forever.

This is his last Olympics, 23-under rule or not, so he’s trying to make it count. The gold medal is obviously the first order of business, but spending quality time with his own teammates and coaches ranks up there, too. That’s why he feels no pressure to play the alpha dog role on this team and is willing to cede the spotlight (and the shots) to Kevin Durant, James, Carmelo Anthony and others.

“I get plenty of shots during the [NBA] regular season,” Bryant said. “I don’t need plenty of shots right now. My arm could use some time off.”

There’s also the added bonus of being able to soak up the time he can with some of the other athletes. They are all things he knows will go away when he retires.

And despite reports that he would consider retirement in two years, when his current deal with the Los Angeles Lakers expires, Bryant said he’s only given it a passing thought.

“Sure, I’ve thought about it,” he said. “It’s crossed my mind. Absolutely. But I don’t put much thought it in it.”

When one reporter joked that Bryant would play until he’s 40, he scoffed at the idea.

“Yeah, playing against y’all,” he said, “probably at the YMCA somewhere … busting y’all’s [expletive].”

Still, there is a real sense on his part, a perfectly understandable one, that all of this will come to an end at some point in the not-so-distant future. And when it does, Bryant acknowledged that there will be a serious transition period for him, like there has been for countless others before him.

“You’re accustomed to doing something your entire life,” he said, “and all of a sudden it’s gone … it takes a lot of adjustment.”

72 Comments

  1. Kobe Bryant says:

    Hey yall. It’s me, Kobe. I appreciate all of my fan’s attitudes. Some of you are right, some of you, well, I’m touched. Thank you for your support, I might retire and come back, maybe. But for now, Lakers fans, I’m chasing 2 championships with the Lakers.

    Be strong.
    -Kobe

  2. s27m says:

    Not really a Kobe fan but… I must say he has had some memroble moments in this league.
    He is one of the true competitors the world of sports has ever seen.
    His time is coming to leave and I think he is cool with it, which is good he has nothing left to proove. He is in the top 5 players to ever play this game.

  3. Law064 says:

    I agree that Kobe is 2nd to only MJ. Kobe at his age is still a great player and I think he will play until he’s at least 38. Everyone comparing Lebron against Kobe remember the age differance. When Kobe was at is prime you cannot say he wasn’t the best in the league. I never liked Kobe but always realized he was the best playing. When Kobe walks away it’ll feel like when MJ left and left a whole in the game. Me a Chicago resident will understand how the LA folks will feel. Go USA bring the gold home!!!! USA USA

  4. lakermig says:

    the day he retires will be a truly sad day, and its nice to finally read comments about an article of KOBE’s and its not all haters saying MJs better or now LBJs better but simply understanding kobes greatness and how he will live on forever in the memories of ppl like me who have grown up with kobe. I personally think he will retire either after he gets his 6th (cause lets face it, its not gonna be next year) or when as he said he ends up averaging 15 pts a game..whichever comes first and i totally agree with that cause there nothing worse than since a once great athelete looking like a shadow of his former self. as much as it would pain me to see him leave or rather never see him play again, i think it would be worse to see him like a grant hill or juwan howard. God Bless you kobe and thanks for 20 years of entertainment and awe.

  5. nimble says:

    He will surely be missed,all the way from Utah airballs as a teen to 40 point and 50 point streaks and dazzling dunks,impeccable footwork,offensive arsenal nearly besting MJ,defensively a stud despite having smallish hands.

    Vaya con Dios Bean!

  6. Carlo says:

    Will kobe retiring? Is this his last season? That’s why the lakers are rebuilding now?
    If kobe is the next jordan…
    Durant is the next kobe… :)

  7. AuZ says:

    KB24, the greatest basketball player ever to be witnessed albeit second to only MJ. There is a great possibility of another ring coming to Hollywood in the next 3 years, not sure how many. Until we have another growing star like Bynum or “just trade him already” Howard picking up the game like they should, it will be heart-breaking to see two NBA greats leaving Lakerland at around the same time. #Forever Laker, Shaq and Kobe fan.

  8. getsome says:

    whys everyone commenting like hes retiring right now. hes got plenty more years in him

  9. $mike$ says:

    living in c.a and watching the lakers i have to say its gonna be a big loss once the black mamba walks away from the game.. ppl have there opinons of him especially post jordan era guys… hence the fact that kobe and michael n one sentenc makes them cringe cause they never could dream of anorther man to even come close.. but in reality when push comes to shove they know and respect kobe he pretty much was handed the torch or keys to the league once jordan faded and has preforned at the highest levels winning a total of 5 current titles with 2 finals mvps several scoring titles league mvp and gold medal winner and on track for a 2nd… and possibly 6.. or looking further maybe a 7th title… i hope ppl really look back from past to present of what kobes has done for us as fans and to the game of basketball… i honestly believe kobe is the lil we have left of the glimpes of the michaels, magics, baylors, west, bird… of the game he managed to carry some of them to todays game.. it will be a very sad day when kobe walks away but he will walk away as one of the greatest to ever play and possibily the greatest pure scorer weve ever seen… so before we bansh kobe for all the reasons ppl think of really reflect what kobe is really about and what he has accomplished in the game of basketball

  10. Beast says:

    Trade Howard 4 artest and trade gasol and nash 4wade and James trade Bynum for cp3 and Blake Griffey
    Pg cp3
    Sg kobe
    Sf James
    Pf Griffen
    C Howard
    Sixth man wade
    If coaches were smart like me smh

  11. ThaiFan says:

    Go ! Team USA !

    Go ! KoBe !

  12. trybes says:

    The Great KOBE…how i love. You have always been great and will forever be great. You have shown how much a man can be so humble without necessarily stealing the spotlight for your own selfish gains. You gained my respect first when u ceeded the highest shooting guard trophy to Durant during the season and now again by letting the young ones fill the spotlight by taking a back stage roll…Either u retire now or in the future, u will always be great!

  13. Nomena says:

    I Wann thanks Kobe Bryant for the show he gave us.
    He is definitely the most skilled basketball player we ever see.
    He is really a true competitor. He deserve what whe earn: money, fame, recognition.

    Just hope he keeps plaiyng untill he will slow down.

    Love you Kobe.

  14. NBA FAN says:

    Go USA team…

  15. NBA FAN says:

    comparison can’t be avoided especially in our fragile world but always remember everyone has their own path and uniqueness such the greatest players, artists etc. that leaved to inspire each and one of us.

  16. Ras Danube says:

    Black Mamba should give it 4 more years and complete a double-decade of NBA greatness.

  17. Ulises says:

    Don’t know what I’m going to do when Kobe retires but what I do know is that I’m going to enjoy the last years of this amazing athlete his competitive drive and wiliness to win is truly amazing I know Kobe will get that 6th ring ….. Go #10 USA#1…

  18. BIGMatta23 says:

    Or did you mean Jodie Meeks?…oh no I got it…Jamario Moon!!

  19. #lakerfanforever says:

    The only player so far to this day that is qualified to be even mentioned in the same sentence of the G.O.A.T. (MJ) in terms of comparison, stat for stat, tenacity, game take over time, clutch, will to win, you name it– he got it. Thank you KB24 for all you’ve done and accomplished. Let’s get 1 more ring!

    5× NBA Champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010), 2× NBA Finals MVP (2009–2010), NBA Most Valuable Player (2008)14× NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2012), 2× NBA scoring champion (2006–2007), 10× All-NBA First Team (2002–2004, 2006–2012)
    2× All-NBA Second Team (2000–2001), 2× All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2005), 9× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000, 2003–2004, 2006–2011), 3× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2001–2002, 2012), NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1997), 4× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011), NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion (1997), Naismith Prep Player of the Year (1996)

  20. celtic fans always full of excuses.

  21. kobe didnt deserve that 5th ring lol? quit acting like perkins was that big of an impact. doesnt mean they wouldve won with him if he was in the lineup that night. the dude is no shaq so quit acting like it. lakers wouldve won that game anyways.

  22. jwang says:

    Kobe is best after JM, it is not any question about that. I guess Kobe will play 5 more years at least

    • BIGMatta23 says:

      Best after JM?…well lets end it right now, Ive never heard of JM so Kobe is definitely better than him.

  23. THIS IS MY DREAM TEAM!! Olympics 2016!!

    PG’s: Paul / Williams / Rose
    SG’s: Durant / Wade
    SF’s: James / Anthony
    PF’s: Griffin / Love
    C’s: Howard / Bynum

  24. J-Short says:

    NBA Family I recommend that we enjoy one of the greats of the game while we can, and I think that he should be added to the top 50 as a plus one or something, because his play over the whole of his career dictates so. I wil always be a Laker fan, I was one before Kobe got there and I will be one thereafter, but it has been a nice run. And its good to know the next three years will be exciting in Laker land.

  25. Jamie S* says:

    I don’t know if he will feel like getting up early in the morning and running and training, especially with the way he trains, which borders on to lunarcy! If they win it all next year, and they just may, he’ll play past that (35) mark. But whenevr he decides to walk through that tunnel for the last time, it will be a moment to break out the good scotch, lol. Anyway, good luck in London. go gett’em.. And don’t worry about all that verses ’92 Dream Team stuff in which someone clearly set them up by asking “Kobe” some simple comparision questions, and then taking his anwsers completely out of context. . I love those ’92 guys too. But honestly, they didn’t face what these guys are facing. The international game has come light years from what it was in ’92, when every other team wanted autographs, and a good team had an NBA player on it. Some of these teams may have 4-5 NBA players on it, and they don’t want your autograph, well, maybe Kobe’s, but they have every intention of knocking you off. And some of these games will get nasty. Not because our guys are bad, but because of the tremendous growth of international play!

  26. jony says:

    why would KB worrry about anything? He is already a legend and yet still playing right now. none of those currently players are consider anything except KB, so what your point lol

  27. Lasis says:

    Met Kobe during his night walk, talked a little +took a picture with him :)

  28. JordanForever says:

    Whoever is the best these days is going to be mentioned the most.Lebron is the best and thats why he will be mentioned the most.Just like in the JORDAN era.He was the best till he retired.KOBE will never be Jordan.Nobody will ever be Jordan.One thing is for sure Lebron is better then Kobe now..and thats a fact.Because the rest of their teams are very simular.Lebron got Wade and Bosh.And Kobe has got Gasol and Andrew.Now u hate who u wanna hate but whats a fact is a fact!END OF STORY!Dont hate Lebron.Dont hate anybody JUST RESPECT THE BEST.By the way go BULLS!

  29. CJ says:

    It’s a shame this is only his second olympics. he would have been on the 2000 and 2004 team, if it werent for his marriage (which has almost ended in divorce) and then that legal case against. oh well. cant change the past.

  30. willbrad23 says:

    ” none more recognizable than the elder statesman of the U.S. Men’ Senior National Team, Kobe Bryant” As famous and well known as Kobe is, I’d argue Usain Bolt is the most recognisable athlete at the the Olympics.

    • Jamie S* says:

      LMAO, I like Usain Bolt too, but world recognition wise, he’s not even in that zip code. Only (2) other people are, and thats, “M Jordan”, and “Muhammad Ali”..

      • Steve says:

        Tiger Woods would be amongst those two in terms of being recognised throughout the world

      • Tommohawk says:

        yeah maybe in America, not elsewhere, I think you’ll find Usain at this moment in time is better known than any basketballers, period. I realise they have big profiles but ask a non-sports watching person who Kobe or Lebron are, they wouldn’t know, Usain on the other hand absolutely. Don’t know about his long-term recognition though. Depends on what he does in London and future Olympics. Who cares anyway, I love basketball and atheletics, not the level of celebrity around it.

      • Renato says:

        Man, i can say that here in Brazil, a lot of people know who Kobe is. NBA is very popular. The guys from the TV talked about him on yesterday´s volleyball game between Brazil and US. They showed him twice during the game and interviewed him afterwards.

      • Gameon says:

        agreed

    • pacman says:

      Manny Pacquiao also a recognized person in the world!

  31. Danny Morales says:

    I grew up watching Kobe from when he threw up those air balls against Utah in 98 I believe. And its amazing the beast he’s become arguably the second best player in NBA history! NBA won’t be the same without him im truly gonna be crushed when he retires don’t think I can picture the LA Lakers without him in the starting line up!

  32. Gwen says:

    Thank you once again, for recognizing Kobe!! I was so MAD at the Media Commentators for not mentioning his name during the march even though his name was shown on the monitor during the Olympics. But, when Lebron was shown that’s all we heard. I’m sick and tired of the media ignoring Kobe! Kobe is still the face of the NBA whether the media and the NBA like it or not. It’s the fans who knows best. Without Kobe in the NBA it’s over for me!!!

    I hope the media stop promoting Lebron so much like as if he is the ONLY NBA Star. Give all of us a break, please!!

    • lbj says:

      That is because LeBron has 3 season mvp and Kobe has only 1 which was given to him just to say he has mvp award. LeBron is all around player. His normal average is 28 ppg 9 rbs 7 ast while kobe 28 ppg 4 rebs and 2 ast. Now you know why

  33. lets go says:

    kobe dont retire untill your 40

  34. pnasty says:

    Especially after reading the article about all the sex at the Olympic Village, who wouldn’t want to soak up the olympic experience

  35. CELTICS>>>LAKERS says:

    KOBE DIDNT DESERVE THAT 5TH RING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO CELTICS!

  36. N says:

    What will be League without Kobe? damn I dont want to come that day.. I`ll stop watching NBA for a while when Kobe retires

    • MB says:

      I was a big fan of Favre also. It wasn’t the same watching football when he walked away. It has nothing to do with anything any jack wagon wants to say about Favre or Kobe or whoever. The sport just doesn’t seem the same for a while.

    • scott the magician says:

      I feel that….

  37. WaitForIt says:

    “by the time they’re doing the double take you’re already like a half a mile up the road.”

    Haha half a mile?! How fast does the guy walk?!

  38. Zach Gillette says:

    I hope Kobe does some announcing, he has a good voice.

  39. marlon green says:

    I just want him to hang it up when it’s time. I dont want to see a star still trying to hold on to something that isn’t there any longer and end up making himself look horrible the end of his career. Kobe is simply one of the greatest to ever play this game. And everyone needs to stop hating on him because he is the only person that was ever good enough to draw comparisons to MJ. Let’s not forget who were we trying to be and play like when we were coming up? I think every kid and adult was trying to be like mike during his time. Kobe was just the only one to be good enough to make it to the pros.

  40. will says:

    i don’t see him playing to much longer. he so competitive that if hes not one of the top 10 nba players in the league he’ll retire. To the great KOBE BRYANT (top 3 of all time) the sun shall soon set.

    • 16going417 says:

      It’s his competative nature that will keep him playing until he is 40.

      Magic retired and came back to play
      Jordan retired and came back to play

      Guys like Kobe cannot just leave the game behind. They have to play until they cannot play any longer.

      • FLY- GUY says:

        Kobe can leave the game behind…AND WILL…He was actually asked a specific question in regards to this early last season by Steven A. Smith…..his answer? ” Do you think I’m gonna be one of those guys who hangs around until he’s only averaging 15 points a night? LOL”…You’re talking about his competitive nature….You’re forgeting about his ” VANITY”….he remembers how players did Jordan at the end…HE REMEMBERS HOW HE DID JORDAN. His blessing was that he got drafted at 17. He’s gonna play this contract out and retire at All- Star form. 35 yrs old. He’ll get a statue out front…and probablly 3 or 4 percent of the team.

      • DWade is a BOSS says:

        He said before that he don’t want to stick around and averaging 18 ppg…and knowing his ” I must win” attitude he’ll retire

    • scott the magician says:

      He just averaged 28ppg….
      Bynum or Howard will sign there long-term, making them contenders/favorites…..
      This story will go well beyond the next two years. Kobe wants to (and will) be the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Dont think for an instant that he doesnt want that.
      Go get em Mamba, and stop this talk of Retirement, even the thought will make you old!!! Keep on burnin em!!!

    • Bigd says:

      I am not a big fan of the lakers at all, but Kobe can play 5 more years and STILL be one of the best in the game. He is more valuable to a team than lebron is , because he does NOT choke and he performs night in and night out, and if he doesnt, he will hand that role to someone else and make sure they get it done. Kevin Durant is the only person I would rather have on a team than Kobe. But he is still not as mature as Kobe is.

      • miami boy says:

        looks like ur a lebron hater if u were to compare kevon durrant and lebron james u would find that lebron is the better player, kevin might be a good shooter but lebron is the one who does things to make a team win example nba finals 2012 were lebron as a mmater of fact did not choke

      • turiaf4life says:

        LeBron is better than Kobe. LeBron has 3 season mvp while kobe has 1

  41. NBA FAN! says:

    KOBE’S NOT GOING TO RETIRE AT AGE 35 HE GONNA BE 38 NEXT SUMMER OLYMPICS!

  42. Gerry says:

    Kobe will be just fine, but i think He’ll continue to play until he’s forty years old!

    • Coach Dee says:

      I think Kobe will break Jordan’s record first. 40+ pts at 40 years old.

    • turiaf4life says:

      Do you guys see now Turiaf play in the France. He dominate the paint against USA. I think he deserve to be respected in nba. TURIAF is the greatest france player of all time!!!