The retirement of a basketball legend signifies that another generation is making its way in; however, many call it the end of an era.
That is the exact sentiment that fans of Kobe Bryant may have felt when the NBA star announced he was retiring after the current season.
ESPN reports that Bryant, who helped the Los Angeles Lakers win 5 NBA championships in his career (spanning 20 years), announced Sunday that the current season is all he has left to give.
The sports website further shares that the player had the decision coming for a while.
ESPN quotes Bryant in saying:
“I’ve known for a while. A decision like this, you can’t make that decision based on outside circumstances. It has to be an internal decision, and finally I’ve decided to accept that I can’t actually do this anymore, and I’m OK with that. It takes a weight off my shoulders and everybody else’s.”
However, while most of the fans are still mourning Bryant’s impending retirement, another question looms in the horizon: Will he still be able to play for Team USA in the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympics?
Sources say that Bryant’s involvement with Team USA may still be possible.
According to NBC Sports, despite Bryant’s announcement, chairman of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo said that Bryant remains in consideration to represent the US the in the upcoming Olympics.
The website recalls that Bryant was able to play for the US national team from 2007 to 2012 and won gold medals in 2008 and 2012. NBC relays that when Bryant won his second gold medal, he expressed it would be his last Olympics.
Still, the player appears to have reconsidered this thought.
In a report by Sports Illustrated, Bryant most recently expressed that playing alongside other Team USA players would mean the world to him.
Sports Illustrated quotes Bryant in saying:
“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.”
Whether or not Kobe Bryant will join Team USA in the Rio Olympics next year remains to be seen.