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Kobe Bryant

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The Redeem Team, they're now called according to Chicago Sun-Times columnist JayMariotti. How about saving that business until we see if they win a world competition for the first time since, gulp, the 2000 Olympics? When LeBron James was asked if he would guarantee a victory, why couldn't he have played it coy instead of saying, ``Absolutely'' — not once, but twice? When Dwyane Wade started a newspaper diary, did he have to plan a gold-medal party? ``When I get back with my gold medal, I'm going on an Olympic tour, hitting all the hot cities doing Olympic parties,'' he wrote, scheduling Chicago, his hometown, for a Sept. 5-6 bash.

And did Kobe Bryant have to use the Olympic stage Friday to say he'd play in Europe if a team offered him $50 million for one season? Didn't this echo what James had said days earlier? Why use a USA Basketball press conference to play leverage games with the NBA, which I'm sure the Nike people loved but the American public did not?``I'd go. I'd probably go,'' Bryant said. ``Like Milan or something like that, where I grew up ... Peace out. Do you know any reasonable person that would turn down 50?"

For their sake, they're just exhausting themselves of all swagger and slobber before their first game, which comes Sunday against ... China and a certain 7-6 center I believe you know, Yao Ming. Because if Team USA hasn't learned by now that Olympic gold is earned via hustle and teamwork and national pride, and not by yapping, then this land deserves a lesser place in the global pecking.

Source: Sun-Times

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