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Lakers' Bryant says no to '16 Olympics

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jan 20 2014 09:10:33 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 21 2014 10:32:34 AM CST
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, 2012

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has no intention of playing for the U.S. team in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Bryant told reporters on Monday before the Lakers played the Bulls in Chicago that he the closest he would get to the court would be as a fan watching Lakers teammate Pau Gasol compete for Spain.

"I'll go and spectate," Bryant said. "I think I'd rather watch Pau (Gasol) win another silver (medal)."

Two years from now, Bryant will be 38. His focus in the short term is recovering from a fractured tibia that he suffered soon after he returned this season from rehabbing an Achilles tear.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who will be an assistant coach for Team USA in 2016, said before the game that he might attempt to persuade Bryant to play one more time for the U.S.

"He can try all he wants," Bryant said. "I love Tibs. We go way back. That conversation with him would be more than welcome."

Bryant won Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012.