Blogtable: Should Kobe play in the 2016 Olympics?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Favorite Kobe moment? | Should Kobe do Rio? | Greatest Kobe feat? | Greatest Laker ever?



VIDEOKobe Bryant talks after winning Olympic gold in 2012

> USA Basketball’s Jerry Colangelo says Kobe has a spot on the Rio Olympics roster if he wants it.  Should Kobe take it?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comColangelo also told us last week in Las Vegas that Kobe only wants a spot if he “earns it,” and without a mini-camp before the Team USA roster is announced, that suggests he needs to have an All-Star worthy season (not just vote tally). I don’t think he’ll be at or near peak Kobe levels, so I don’t think he should take a spot offered out of reputation or as a lovely parting gift. He already has two gold medals and USA Basketball has a backlog of younger guys who have earned the chance to shine in their primes.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: No. If he survives the 2015-16 NBA season healthy — a big if — he’ll be worn out and down. He’d only be a part-time contributor and potentially more of a distraction. The torch can be safely passed to Team USA’s abundance of front line talent that is willing and able to strike gold again.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: No. He has earned the ceremonial victory lap, so no big deal if Kobe does take it. It will not be the difference between winning the gold or losing and he will represent the U.S. well. But it’s someone else’s turn. Let a young player with no Olympic experience have the final spot to get a feel for the unique stage as part of another Team USA building block.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: I’d have no problem with Kobe being grandfathered, so to speak, a spot. He has been a good standing member of USA basketball and besides, being a 12th man on Team USA wouldn’t necessarily be depriving a more deserving player. Only a few players would be treated as such: LeBron James and Kevin Durant come to mind.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comOlympic team selection is about more than talent and even fit. The “equity” that guys have built up over the years means a lot to Jerry Colangelo, and it obviously helps to have a vet with the experience that Kobe has (including his big shots down the stretch of the 2008 gold medal game). But it would still take a serious turn-back-the-clock season for Kobe to deserve a spot on that roster with the talent (and international experience) the U.S. has at the guards and wings. Even if he’s relatively healthy, I have a hard time seeing that happening.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: No, he should not take it. The only way Kobe should suit up in Rio is if he’s healthy and playing at an elite level when selection time comes. He doesn’t need to be in Rio waving a towel and cheering these guys on. He’s better than taking some hand out, even with all that he’s done over the years for USA Basketball. I totally understand where Jerry Colangelo is coming from where Kobe is concerned, but I remember the role he played on the 2012 team that won gold in London and that was Kobe’s opportunity to pass the torch to LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and the other guys.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: If he earns it then yes – of course – he should be there. But you are not going to see Kobe humiliating himself like Willie Mays in the 1973 World Series. He is going to be ruthless in assessing his ability to contribute before he exposes himself at this stage of his career. He has nothing more to prove, and should play only if the Olympics will bring him joy.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blogYes. I understand USA Basketball doesn’t want to give anyone a roster spot based on what they’ve done in the past, but Kobe Bryant isn’t just anyone. Kobe is a two-time gold medalist who is arguably the greatest player of his generation. Does Kobe not taking part in the recent training camp and then being given a spot on the team set a bad precedent? I mean, I guess you can make that argument, as long as you also allow that Kobe is a once-in-a-lifetime player. And for players like that, exceptions need to be made.

16 Comments

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  3. Dessert11Eagle says:

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  5. sports fan says:

    He doesn’t need to play in Rio. Let another player go for a gold medal, he already has 2 & has nothing left to prove. Besides, he’ll probably be too banged up by then & there’s a chance he could be injured & not even play anyway. He should just retire after his last nba season & not after an unnecessary olympic run.

  6. anothercavsfan says:

    If kobe’s gonna be on it, why not MJ and Shaq as well? Bring them out of retirement.

    USA will still win, maybe by 20 instead of 50 lol.

  7. vinsanefan says:

    He should play at the 2016 Olympics…for Italy.

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  9. Rhedz03 says:

    sorry but no..kobes has done it all…we have walls, lillards, mcw, butler, k.thompson etc. who are almost if not entering their primes. Kobe should focus on getting healthy, injury free for the season to come…he can still play and contribute 2 more season for the lakers..mentoring rookies and just sharing and guiding the team.

  10. cel says:

    I’d love to watch kobe at basket ball Olympic 2016

  11. Lucas says:

    Not sure what qualifies as ‘earning’ it, but I wouldn’t do it. I get why they are open to the notion, but I don’t think anyone wants to see Kobe on the bench towel waving. He has had his prime, now let the butler’s, Thompson’s, and Beal’s have theirs.

  12. deutztony says:

    If he will be healthy the whole 2015-16 season, much more if the Lakers gets back to the playoffs, then why not? Give it one more chance for an NBA title or to represent the USA in the Olympics.

  13. nexsis24 says:

    I wish he would say thanks but No Thanks….Kobe has already help Team USA redeem themselves from the 2004 Olympic losts……There’s nothing to gain here….

  14. I think he is a lot better than 80% of the players who participated in the mini-camp. If he earns it yes. The USA team will be boring without Kobe. Who is the most loved NBA player in the Olympics? Kobe Bryant. People came to see Kobe not Lebron. Just remember Beijing and London. People are dying to see him. Rio fans deserves to see him. Don’t forget US should lose to spain in 2008 without his clutch performance where I think the players will be afraid to take now if there is a close game. People who said “No” should watch another sports

  15. harriethehawk says:

    I guess he can do what he wants, when he wants. Kevin Durant has a spot so I really don’t care.

  16. Van says:

    No he should not in my opinion he has two Gold Medals, and the new generation is in good hands.