Bloomberg: Kobe Bryant, basketball’s Mr. Cool, got goose bumps during the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

He’s heard about goose bumps. He’s even seen goose bumps. But, and get this, he’d never actually experienced goose bumps.

Didn’t get ‘em on draft day. Hearing his name called, shaking hands with National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern, fulfilling a lifelong dream — that wasn’t enough. Meeting Jerry West didn’t do it. Not his first game with the Los Angeles Lakers, either. Not his first championship. Not his first Most Valuable Player Award. Nothing.

“First time,” he said.

Bryant, of all people, has become America’s foremost goodwill ambassador. He’s wrapped himself in the flag, immersed himself in this we-are-the-world environment, and all while spreading the gospel of humble pie.

Bryant is telling the world, literally, that his Olympic experience is the most significant undertaking of his life, athletic or otherwise.

“More significant than anything I’ve ever done,” he said the other day.

Sorry, Lakers-land. You’ve just been bumped.

We can’t call this the new-and-improved Bryant because we’ve seen it already. Think back to before he was a one-name wonder, prior to his making front-page headlines for all the wrong reasons. Before winning yielded to whining. Before Shaq. Before Phil. Before Bryant tried to become basketball’s first and only solo act.

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