LA Lakers Rumors: Kobe Bryant Could Retire After 2016 Olympics

Kobe Bryant wants the focus taken off of him and when he will retire, and more on the 2015-16 NBA season for the LA Lakers. Unfortunately, too many people are concerned about when he could end his playing career, and he’s even told people he will let them know after the season. Now, rumors are flying that Bryant could end up retiring after the 2016 Olympics.

Bryant hasn’t yet given an indication that he would like to be a part of the USA Men’s Basketball team again, but ESPN reports that it’s possible.

On Thursday, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said that he had spoken with Bryant about winning a gold medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016. He said it would be a”great story if he did [play in Rio].”

According to HNGN, it also seems as if Colangelo believes the 37-year-old NBA star could see the 2016 Olympics as his career-ending moment.

“And so, he also mentioned to me in a private conversation that if he had his druthers, he would love to ride off into the sunset playing one more time and winning the gold medal. And that would be the end. But he was very quick to say, ‘But, I don’t want a spot. I need to earn the spot. I need to be capable of playing at that level to be considered.’ And I said, ‘You got that. That’s always there for you, Kobe.'”

The upcoming season for Kobe Bryant will be his 20th in the league and all have been with the LA Lakers. Numerous injuries have shortened his seasons over the last few years, and he’s not getting any younger.

Earlier this year, Bryant had said that he had no plans to play on the Men’s USA Basketball team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Kobe Bryant did win a gold medal with the team at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and London Olympics in 2012.

A 12-man roster for Rio is expected to be set shortly after next year’s NBA draft. Both Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski just want the best players for the team, and it’s always obvious that Bryant would fit that bill.

The retirement of Kobe Bryant and whether or not he plays in the 2016 Olympics all depends on the 2015-16 season with the LA Lakers. One of the biggest things will be his health at the end of the season, and that is when a prime decision will be made.

[Image via Getty Images]