During NBATV’s hour-long special on Saturday to announce the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team set for London, Kobe Bryant joined the network’s Matt Winer and Steve Smith, fielding the following questions:
On returning to play for Team USA after winning gold in 2008:
Bryant: It was such a great experience the first time around, just being around the guys, the camaraderie, being a part of the Olympic experience and seeing so many great athletes in their environments. It was just fun to be a part of, so, it was kind of a no-brainer for me to join again.
On playing with a small line up due to the plethora of injuries to big men that won’t be going to London (Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge):
Bryant: You have to make adjustments. That’s all. You have to play to your strengths that you have on your roster, which is our versatility, our speed, causing matchup problems at the other end of the floor. But at the same time, we still have a roster that’s full of great rebounders. We can all rebound the ball; when people talk about size, that’s the first thing that comes to mind, the ability to rebound. We have great rebounders: Chris (Paul) is a phenomenal rebounder, I can rebound, LeBron (James) can rebound, Kevin Love is the best in the league. So we have guys that can crash the boards.
On going through the process a second time for many of the players, referring to the 2008 Olympics and 2010 World Championships:
Bryant: It was comfortable the first time around as well, I just think the second time, we know what to expect form a scheduling perspective, from corporate sponsorships, commitments, things of that nature. With Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) it’s been a seamless transition from 2008 until now. He’s a great communicator, he’s easy to play for, so it really hasn’t been any type of adjustment required from 2008 until now, it’s just the experience that goes along with it.
On the Lakers and the Clippers building a rivalry, as asked to Bryant and Chris Paul (seated next to him):
Bryant: I’ve been following probably a little bit more aggressively than Chris has because of all the rumors the Lakers have been involved in in terms of trade talks. They’ve obviously made some incredible additions.
Paul: We have our conversations, we talk. We keep our eye on what each other have going on.