Kobe Bryant: Days of US Dream Team are over
US basketball legend Kobe Bryant gestures as he attends the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 semi final match between Argentina and France in Beijing, China, 13 September 2019. EFE/EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG
US basketball legend Kobe Bryant (C) attends the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 semi final match between Spain and Australia in Beijing, China, 13 September 2019. EFE/EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG
Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant (R) in action against Gordon Hayward (L) of the Utah Jazz in the second half of their NBA game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 13 April 2016. EPA/MIKE NELSON CORBIS OUT
Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant (L) goes up for lay-up against Trey Lyles (R) of the Utah Jazz in the second half of their NBA game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 13 April 2016. EPA/MIKE NELSON CORBIS OUT
Beijing, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Kobe Bryant said that the days of America's 1992 Barcelona Olympics "Dream Team" are over, at a Basketball World Cup press conference on Friday.
The American basketball player reminisced about the United States' golden days when asked about the team's sudden exit from the Chinese World Cup, where the side was beaten by France in the quarter-finals and later against Serbia.
The US team will be battling for seventh place against Poland in this year's competition.
"Put the best players you have, make the best US team on the floor, we are still gonna have challenges, it’s not gonna be a cakewalk," Bryant told reporters.
"The days of the Barcelona 92 Dream Team are gone. They’re over. It’s gonna be tough," he added.
The 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team, nicknamed the "Dream Team", was the first American Olympic team to feature active professional players from the National Basketball Association and has been described as the greatest team ever assembled.
When asked what the future will hold for the US, Bryant said: "In the US we’re gonna win some we’re gonna lose some, that’s how it goes.
"You have some great basketball being played: France, Serbia, Argentina, Spain… we’re gonna have our challenges for the next team, no matter what time it is it’s not going to be easy."
The absence of star players at the 2019 Basketball World Cup was ominous, he said.
Fans missed LeBron James, James Harden and Stephen Curry but Bryant reminded reporters that the US team required a huge final effort to beat Spain during the 2008 Olympic Games.
"We send the best possible team… I hear that a lot," he said.
"You gotta remember on the redeem team, we needed a hell of a quarter to beat Spain, that was a hell of a team we had and we still needed a great late push to beat Spain in that gold medal match."
He also praised Argentina's efforts: "Argentina they always play so well together, they scheme very well as a group, physically and defensively. It’s gonna be a huge challenge for France."
When asked about Argentina's point guard, Facundo Campazzo, Bryant said: "Campazzo has been tough for a very long time."
During Friday's match, he sat alongside another NBA legend, Argentinian Manu Ginóbil.
"With Manu, I was kind of pissed because if he wasn’t around I’d have 10 rings," Bryant said.
"Manu’s been one of my favorite players to play against, he’s the ultimate competitor, extremely smart, it was a fun opportunity to sit next to him because he looks at the game like I do, in a very analytical way."
"It was fun and it was good to catch up with him because we hadn’t talked in a very long time," he added. EFE-EPA