Olympic Games Rumors
The obvious answer is Laettner, but Jordan’s fomer Bulls teammate Dennis Rodman, a Hall of Famer in his own right who also won titles with Thomas in Detroit, disagrees. He says that … wait for it … Larry Bird should’ve been left off the Dream Team. Here’s what the Worm had to say during a recent interview on Sirius XM’s “NBA Today”: “I just think the fact that — I don’t know the issues of Michael (Jordan) and Magic (Johnson) and whoever, (Charles) Barkley, and stuff like that, if they didn’t like Isiah. But for me, I felt Isiah should’ve been on that team because of the fact that he deserved it,” Rodman said.
“I think that the fact that, even though a lot of people will try deny it or try to correct me when I’m wrong, he should’ve been there instead of Larry Bird. Because Larry Bird was hurt, injured, he could barely play, and he was on that last leg of his career. “I understand, again, the presidential treatment, because he did so much for the game, but I just think for Isiah, I think they should’ve put him on that team without Larry Bird, and that’s my opinion.”
It’s no surprise that Bryant is coming around to the idea of playing in the Olympics. He insists on being a Laker or retiring, so assuming it ends after this season, Bryant will not have even played an NBA playoff game for the final four years of his career. The possibility of going out a winner with the U.S. team in Rio instead of a loser with the rebuilding Lakers is too much to resist—and Colangelo and all the world can feel the pull of that allure.
Heat forward and former U.S. Olympic teammate Chris Bosh joked that Bryant just wanted “a free trip to Brazil.” But Bosh then gushed about Bryant’s work ethic on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, shortly after the Lakers’ NBA Finals loss to Boston. “I don’t know if it was motivation or just how he normally is. But he was beating everybody to the gym and working on off-days,” Bosh said. “He could have every excuse to come in and rest. But there’s a reason why he’s one of the greatest of all time.”
That explains why Scott sounded strongly supportive about Bryant reiterating his interest in playing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Assuming Bryant makes the team, that would mark the third time he played for the U.S. men’s Olympic team after winning gold medals in Bejing (2008) and in London (2012). “I don’t know if that’s an indication on what he plans on doing for next year. But that’s cool to me,” Scott said. “I can’t think about 2016 and the Olympics. I have to think about tonight.”
Bryant said Monday that he still wants to be part of the team that USA Basketball will send to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, a tournament that theoretically could mark the end of his competitive basketball career if he retires at the conclusion of this NBA season. Bryant helped the U.S. win gold at the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 London Games. “It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” Bryant said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”