With the NBA and its players spending their summer embroiled in a stagnant lockout, a few are already looking to next summer in 2012, where the United States will look to repeat their gold medal performance from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. One of these few is former Phoenix Suns owner and current head of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo, who sat down with NBA.com’s David Aldridge to talk about USA Basketball and the effects of the lockout.
While the full effects of the lockout on USA Basketball are still unknown (the NBA does much of the financial backing for Team USA), Colangelo still expects many of the players from the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2010 World Championships to vie for spots on the team:
“I would hope people would take care of their business,” he said. “I know all of the issues from both sides, the pros and cons. I have to look at it from a different perspective as chairman of USA Basketball. We’re moving ahead. We’re fielding a team. The only question is who’s going to be on it. We have to submit a roster to FIBA by next June … we’re going to have a great response to participation in 2012 from our players. We have the depth of players, looking at the Olympic roster and the World Championship roster, to field a team.”
While Miami’s Big Three reportedly have yet to discuss playing in next year’s Olympics, one Laker has already made a verbal commitment to Team USA:
Still, the 2012 roster will be comprised solely of NBA players. Kobe Bryant is a yes whatever happens, according to a source close to the 32-year-old; Bryant badly wants a second gold medal to go with the one he won in ’08.
Always looking to place more accolades on his mantle, Bryant’s signature moment of the 2008 Olympics came in the gold medal game as Team Spain cut the United States lead to five with three minutes to play. Bryant was fouled on a successful three-point shot, and then held his finger to his lips in a motion to silence the Spanish fanbase in Beijing. He would go on to make the free throw, putting Team USA up 108-99, and Team USA would go on to win 118-107.
While it’s almost a guarantee that Bryant will be on the USA Basketball squad in 2012, it will be interesting to see how much playing time the coaches ask of him. After all, Bryant will be turning 34 in August of 2012, and will have played in seven NBA Finals during 15 NBA seasons, not including his possible upcoming stint in Turkey.