Yahoo! Sports: United States coach Mike Krzyzewski was asked Wednesday what he planned to give Kobe Bryant for his 29th birthday next week.
“We should use a reverse birthday thing, and he should get something for us — a qualifying berth in the Olympics,” Krzyzewski said. “That’ll be a great birthday present for everyone.”
Bryant will make his U.S. debut Aug. 22 in the FIBA Americas championships, with the Americans playing for a trip to the 2008 Olympics. Injuries and off-the-court troubles have prevented the Los Angeles Lakers star from playing for previous national teams.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a while, just having the chance to represent our country,” Bryant said after a workout at Valley High School. “It’s a very special moment.”
Bryant teamed with LeBron James, Jason Kidd, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire during Wednesday’s drills.
“We just clicked instantly, so it was very encouraging,” Bryant said. “The timing is much better — the timing on cuts, the timing on passes.”
Bryant is the most notable addition to a U.S. team that finished third in the world championships last year, missing out on an automatic berth in the Beijing Olympics.