Injuries and Father Time are finally catching up to Kobe Bryant, but that hasn't stopped Team USA assistant and Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau from trying to recruit the Black Mamba for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Lakers Nation's Serena Winters relayed Thibs' aim via Twitter:
A few interesting things from Tom Thibodeau's pre-game presser, incl. him saying he may try to convince Kobe to play on Team USA '16.— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 20, 2014
Apparently, Kobe (who will turn 38 in August of 2016) has no interest in the idea:
Kobe Bryant shot down Thibodeau's plea for him to play in the 2016 Olympics— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 21, 2014
Given his age, the rejection shouldn't be too surprising. But fans fond of Kobe and the nostalgia that will undoubtedly surround him at that point in his career may be disappointed.
Bryant earned two gold medals with Team USA for his work during the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, averaging 15 points in the former and 12.1 in the latter. He also served as a leader on and off the court for both squads.
Thibodeau may not have been looking for that kind of production from Kobe in 2016, but rather the experience and leadership that he would bring.
Another interesting angle of Bryant in the 2016 Olympics would be the potential of a last hurrah for the Black Mamba. The two-year extension Kobe recently signed will end after the 2015-16 season. Earning a gold medal that summer would be a fitting way for him to close out his illustrious career.
Kobe himself seems uninterested in any of that, however:
Kobe has no intention of playing in 2016 Olympics, said he would "spectate," watch "Pau win another silver."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 21, 2014
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For 140-character pearls of wisdom from Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDBailey.