Kobe Bryant is not the player he used to be. As he put it himself, right now he sucks.
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Kobe would like a spot on the Olympic team. Good idea or not?
Team USA did this with other greats at the end of their careers, notably Larry Bird, who could barely sit, much less play, and more recently, Jason Kidd, who really had a secondary role.
Kobe has earned a lot of credibility for being willing to take a secondary role in the 2008 and 2012 games. And there's a lot to be said for having a cagey older player around.
The question is who doesn't get to go.
As we know, the USA roster is modeled on what we see at Duke: lots of versatile athletes who can run, defend and play multiple positions, a leader at point guard and big guys, but not at the expense of speed and versatility.
So assume that Anthony Davis is a lock. DeMarcus Cousins earned a lot of respect last summer.
LeBron James is in if he wants in and so is Kevin Durant. Paul George has a unique stake. It's going to be hard to say no to him. And what about Blake Griffin?
You'd have to think Kawhi Leonard has a great shot, and Kevin Love has been very useful.
It's hard to imagine not taking Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. How do you leave Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving off?
And do you leave Draymond Green home for Kobe?
It all depends on how you decide to put a team together, really, but whatever you do, a better player is going to be left home.
If Kobe's role - and we're not talking about playing time - justifies that, then you take him.