Kobe Bryant says he will not participate in 2016 Olympics

After much speculation on whether or not Kobe Bryant would play for the USA in this summer’s Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Bryant himself squashed the rumors saying that he would not be on the court for the red, white and blue.

Speaking before his Los Angeles Lakers played the Utah Jazz Saturday, the Mamba said that he would be stepping aside to give the young stars their time to shine.

“I think it’s the young guys’ turn to play and perform. I’ve been fortunate enough to win two gold medals so I’ve had my moment. I’ll watch from afar, I’ll support from afar and if they want me to come down and speak to the guys, I will, but that’s about it. As beautiful as it would be to play for our country, when I say my last game is going to be my last game … then that’s it. I’m not going to like to walk off the stage … but I think it’s pretty sweet to have my final game be in a Laker uniform.”

Then again, Kobe does have that MJ mentality, and it would be hard to imagine that he would be OK with ending his career with the Lakers playing the way they are. Maybe he might be enticed by ending his career on a championship podium rather than at the bottom of the standings.

Can’t get enough of Campus Sports? Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram to stay updated with the latest news and exclusive giveaways!

*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports