Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Updated: November 3, 10:42 AM ET
Kobe Bryant offers to play in Olympics
ESPN.com news services
Mike Krzyzewski has a commitment from another top recruit: Kobe Bryant.
Bryant told the U.S. basketball coach he will play in the London Olympics in 2012 if the Americans want him there.
The 32-year-old Lakers guard was a guest on Krzyzewski's SIRIUS XM radio show Tuesday when the Duke coach asked Bryant about London.
"You guys want me there, I am there and I'm ready to defend," Bryant said. "And then when you guys need me to put some points on the board, I'll do that, too."
Bryant confirmed his interest in wearing the red-white-and-blue again Tuesday night after scoring 23 points in Los Angeles' 124-105 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Bryant said it's a huge honor to be part of the Olympics.
"You get a chance to see and meet the greatest athletes in the world," he said. "Aside from just the basketball part of it and being with a great group of guys, it's an opportunity to meet some of the best at what they do. It's great for me, I get a chance to talk to them and meet them and go to their events and watch new sports. It's just a blast."
Bryant was a starter on the U.S. squad that won gold medals in 2008 in Beijing but hasn't played for the American team since then. He sat out the world championships this summer, recovering from right knee surgery following the Lakers' taxing championship run to Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Bryant will turn 34 in August 2012, and his two-time defending champion Lakers appear to be loaded for two more long playoff runs after making the past three NBA Finals. Yet Bryant scoffs at worries about the wear and tear on his body in the early weeks of his 15th season with the Lakers.
"If anything, I'll just be Mariano Rivera -- come in in the last two minutes," Bryant said, referring to the New York Yankees closer.
Beijing stalwarts LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul also skipped the Istanbul tournament, while Kevin Durant led the remainder of the U.S. team to its first world championship in 16 years.
Anthony and Paul already have said they would love to return for another Olympic run. The Americans will have next summer off, having already qualified for the Olympics with the world title won by Durant and a supporting cast including Lamar Odom, who's off to an outstanding start with the Lakers despite his extra summer work.
Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.