"Since my retirement announcement, I’m able to watch these guys in a different light," Bryant said. "I’ve come to terms with the fact that they are the future of this game. These are the guys who deserve the spots in Rio. These are the guys who people need to watch and root for. These are the guys to show fans where this game is going in the future."
Back in November, before he had endured the painful struggles of a season in which all of those court miles seem to have caught up with him, Bryant had said of playing one more time for Team USA: "It would mean the world to me to be around those guys. 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."
Bryant has won two Olympic gold medals with Team USA in 2008 and 2012.