Kobe Bryant was not at USA Basketball’s minicamp previously deemed mandatory for 2016 Olympic hopefuls, but there is still a chance he makes the 12-man team for the Rio Games.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in multiple interviews this week that Bryant, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, could make the team next year at age 37.
“[Bryant] also mentioned to me in a private conversation that if he had his druthers, he would love to ride off into the sunset playing one more time and winning the gold medal,” Colangelo told media at the camp in Las Vegas on Thursday, according to ESPN.com. “And that would be the end. But he was very quick to say, ‘But, I don’t want a spot. I need to earn the spot. I need to be capable of playing at that level to be considered.’ And I said, ‘You got that. That’s always there for you, Kobe.'”
Bryant and Colangelo discussed the Rio Olympics in June, according to Sheridanhoops.com.
In January 2014, Bryant was reported as saying he had no intention of trying to make a third straight U.S. Olympic team. Bryant played in 41 of a possible 164 games the last two seasons, missing time due to injuries.
If Bryant were to change his mind and make the 2016 Olympic team, he would be the oldest U.S. Olympic men’s basketball player ever, according to sports-reference.com.