Bryant hopes to feature at Rio Games

ATLANTA • Kobe Bryant, who is retiring after 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the National Basketball Association (NBA) season, would be very happy to give an encore performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"I would love nothing more than to be in an international environment and be around some of the other great athletes one more time," he told ESPN Radio when asked about the Rio Games.

The 37-year-old won gold medals with the US Olympic team in 2008 and 2012.

Bryant has also won five NBA titles and stands third on the league's all-time scoring list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.

He is one of 34 players in the US men's national team pool from which 12 will be selected for the Olympics. Bryant believes his physical condition would be a factor in an Olympic decision.

"If my body can't do it, there's no sense in doing it," he said. "(If) I feel I can make a contribution and my body is up for it, I'd love to play."

Bryant, who scored 31 points on Wednesday at Washington to help the Lakers snap a seven-game losing streak, returned to court on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks.

The forward scored 14 points while making only 4-of-19 shots from the field as the Hawks (13-9) won 100-87.

Hawks centre Al Horford had 16 points to lead five double-figure scorers and added nine rebounds.

A capacity crowd of 19,015 came out to be part of Bryant's last game in Atlanta and saw only a few flashes of the 17-time NBA All-Star.

A jumper by Bryant drew the Lakers (3-16) to 83-87 with under five minutes to play but the Hawks then went on an 8-0 run.

"We weren't thinking about Kobe," Horford said.

"We were thinking about beating the Lakers and getting a win."

The Hawks got 41 points from their bench, with forward Mike Scott following Kent Bazemore with 14 points.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 06, 2015, with the headline 'Bryant hopes to feature at Rio Games'. Print Edition | Subscribe