Basketball

Kobe Bryant targets Olympic gold before retirement

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Football News
24/7

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Kobe Bryant would love to end his illustrious playing career with Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro next summer.

The five-time NBA champion last month announced his plans to retire at the end of the season, closing up a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Injuries have finally caught up with the 37-year-old shooting guard, but the 17-time NBA All-Star is still hoping to be fit enough to end his career with a flourish.

Given the Lakers are floundering and almost certain to miss out on the play-offs, a well-rested and fit Bryant could prove a wise selection for next summer's Olympics.

The Lakers great helped the USA to gold in 2008 and 2012 and sees the Rio Games as a fitting ending.

"We'll see," he said. "It's not something I'm absolutely pressing for but being part of the Olympics is such a beautiful experience.

"I grew up overseas, I grew up in Italy, so I was able to see how basketball became such an international sport first-hand.

"It would be a beautiful thing personally to finish my career on the international stage.

"But that being said we will see how it goes."

Bryant's father, Joe, spent a large chunk of his playing career in Italy after leaving the States and briefly played in France before retiring.

It is a career path the retiring Laker would loved to have followed, if only for a short while, but injuries mean a European jaunt is beyond him.

"I would have loved to have played overseas for a season but it's not going to happen," Bryant said.

"I wish I could have done it but I can't, my body won't let me.

"My body has been through a lot. And it's very easy to forget I haven't played because of it. My timing is off, my rhythm is off.

"It was about me continuing my training and believing my timing will come back and that's what happened."

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