Kobe Bryant says easy days for USA Basketball are over

FLE - In this March 21, 2019, file photo, Kobe Bryant speaks with students at Andrew Hamilton School in Philadelphia. Kobe Bryant played on the Redeem Team in 2008, the one that delivered a gold medal in Beijing after a series of USA Basketball disappointments in big tournaments. Back in Beijing this weekend, Bryant isn't sure another Redeem Team will be so easy to find for the U.S. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

BEIJING — Kobe Bryant played on the Redeem Team in 2008, the one that delivered a gold medal in Beijing after a series of USA Basketball disappointments in big tournaments.

Back in Beijing this weekend, Bryant isn’t sure another Redeem Team will be so easy to find for the U.S.

The five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist is at the final weekend of the World Cup as an ambassador for FIBA. However, he won’t be watching the U.S. in the medal round. The best the Americans can do at this tournament is seventh place, and Bryant said the days of automatic gold medals for the U.S. — regardless of who is on the roster — may be over.

“It’s not a matter of the rest of the world catching up to the U.S. It’s that the rest of the world has been caught up for quite some time,” Bryant said. “It’s to the point now where the U.S., we’re going to win some and we’re going to lose some. That’s just how it goes.

“We’re going to have our challenges for the next team, whether it’s Redeem 2 or whatever you want to call it,” Bryant continued. “No matter what team it is, it’s not going to be easy.”

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