Sunday , Aug , 17 , 2008 Oly Sandor

What should come first for Kobe Bryant: Team USA or the L.A. Lakers?

“You’re playing for your country, there’s more at stake. I think when you’re playing for the NBA championship, you’re actually playing for a brand, you’re playing for whatever motivation – proving people wrong or whatever,” …

What should come first for Kobe Bryant: Team USA or the L.A. Lakers?What comes first: country or club? There is no easy answer for NBA players who must balance international competitions with an 82 game regular season.

Choosing country has consequences. For example, Jorge Garbajosa picked his country by rushing back from injury to represent Spain in the 2007 Euro Championship, which contributed to his club, the Toronto Raptors, buying out his contract this summer.

Choosing club also has consequences. Take Steve Nash. The tiny point guard represented Canada for over a decade, but, for a variety of reasons, has recently skipped international events to preserve his health for the Phoenix Suns. Fair or not, the Canadian press has slammed the two-time MVP.

This brings us to Los Angeles Laker and Team USA superstar Kobe Bryant. Or is it the other way around? For Bryant, representing stars-and-stripes comes first, out-ranking club obligations with the purple-and-gold.

“You’re playing for your country, there’s more at stake. I think when you’re playing for the NBA championship, you’re actually playing for a brand, you’re playing for whatever motivation – proving people wrong or whatever,” he said.

“When you put on a USA uniform, you’re playing for something bigger than all that. You’re representing your country, and our country is going up against the other country, trying to prove who’s best. For me, that holds more weight.”  (Yahoo sports)

Nothing is simple with ‘Black Mamba’; every word must be critiqued. Below are both sides of the argument stating why winning for Team USA and L.A. should be priority one.

Read it. Hit us with thoughts in the opinion box. Again, what do tou think should come first for Bryant: winning a gold medal for Team USA or winning another NBA Title for the Lakers?

Why Team USA (country) should come first for Bryant:

  • Playing for your nation should be a tremendous honour. As Bryant said it’s country against country “trying to prove who’s best” by winning gold. 
  • Beijing isn’t another international event for the American squad. It’s Bryant and Redeem Team’s opportunity to make up for past failures at the FIBA World Championship in Japan and the 2004 Athens Olympics.  

Why the Lakers (club) should come first for Bryant: 

  • Winning an NBA Title for the Lakers ‘brand’ provides Bryant the biggest spotlight. After all,  Olypmic basketball isn’t a headline-grabbing global event like soccer’s World Cup. The NBA Finals is the sport’s biggest stage; the Lakers the sport’s glamour club.
  • Bryant has passed on several chances to play for Team USA.  If representing his country was so important then why wait until the 2007 Americas Tournament? 
  • Face it; the man is a career Laker. He won’t play for another NBA team. Most people aren’t buying the Europe rumours. And his Team USA commitment likely ends after Beijing. So how could a short-term like a gold medal trump another NBA Title?

What should come first for Bryant: winning gold with Team USA or securing another NBA Title with the Lakers? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA and Olympic tidbits. Photo courtesy of kobejay10.