Kobe Bryant is no stranger to the world of praise and admirations. Sadly, Bryant is no more with the world after he passed away in a tragic helicopter crash. It has really opened up a new perspective on life for many, who could never believe it upon hearing the news.
On a brighter side, a lot of stories about Kobe and moments during his career are coming up which is a pillow for comfort. Jerry Colangelo, better known for being the former owner of the Phoenix Suns has given us an inspiring tale about Bryant.
It was the year 2006. Colangelo was the managing director of the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team program at that time. He recalls Kobe Bryant coming into his office just days after netting 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. It was the second-most points ever scored in an NBA game.
Bryant wanted to represent his country in the Olympics. It was something he had not done yet. “I put him on by saying, ‘Look, we may want you to do something else rather than score. We may need you to be the distributor’ and he kind of looked at me funny and we smiled and he said, ‘I’ll do whatever you want. I just want to be part of it.”
Team USA returned home after a disappointing campaign at the 2004 Olympics managing to win just a bronze medal. But destiny led to Bryant leading the team at the 2008 Olympics with a star-studded lineup behind his back.
“We go to training camp in Vegas and he’s there two days early and is in the workout room at 5:30 in the morning working on his weights,” Colangelo recalls. “If you practice twice a day, that was his first workout before the two regular workouts. As players like Carmelo and LeBron, Wade and (Chris) Bosh and others, they saw that and they started going in that early. So he led by example.”
Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony. These are the few names belonging to the USA team that won the Gold in the 2008 Olympic games. USA came up against Spain in the finals and Kobe was up against his Lakers teammate, Pau Gasol.
Team USA won 118-107 eventually and Bryant scored 20 points in the final. “Had it not been for Wade and in particular, Kobe’s late-game heroics, we may not have won,” Colangelo said. “Spain played that well against us.”