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Kobe Bryant on reclaiming Olympic Basketball glory at Beijing 2008 | Throwback Thursday


I remember being very excited. I had never experienced it before and so coming into the opening ceremonies I was just like this is amazing because you have all the top athletes [in] the world [all] in one place and I Remember [it] just being a surreal experience Playing the Olympics ooh yeah, I think What was different was being in the Olympic Village? You know because when you’re in the cafeterias is this massive cafeteria, and you look around you have Some of the best in the world at what they do So for me that that’s that’s even more special than being out in La and seeing celebrities walking around Because it’s athlete to athlete like I understand what they just put their [body] through to get here And so there’s so much mutual respect and admiration when we lost in 2004 There was a heavy blow for us This [is] a sport that we’ve dominated for years and I think you know there’s there’s a lot of beauty and the fact that we lost because it means that the game is growing So much, and there’s so many countries out there that are playing and playing at a high level But at the same time I was like, okay alright. That’s beautiful, and now we want it back We want it back so 2008 was about that. It was about kind of reclaiming You know we feel we started I Couldn’t wait To get after we couldn’t wait [to] challenge for that gold Medal You know we had a lot of energy, and you know we had lost You know the previous time right? So for us. It was a chance shot at redemption Wanted to show the world that we are the best basketball [playing] country in the world We were playing against Spain, and you know spain it just very very tactically sound Very fundamentally sound extremely intelligent you know they grew up playing together, so they all knew [each] other extremely well so that was a shrimp that they had that we didn’t because we just Put the collection of guys together and tried to get to know each other over two years when they’ve been playing together since they were 10 or 11 years old So we had to figure that challenge on and you know pow and [Mark] and Navarro, and these guys are incredible guy bahasa. There’s phenomenal players at a is and We had to learn them Because [a] lot of them still played overseas, so we didn’t know anything about them So we had to watch them and prepare for them and study them But we were we were looking forward to really excited Fret for that team for our team at [that] time. It wasn’t really about confidence is about execution Execution Kim can we take Spain’s strengths away? At the end of the first quarter we felt pretty comfortable about that now the second quarter. It’s about can they make an adjustment and Encounter attack what we just did to him? We made the [commitment] to ourselves and to our country to [not] worry about a focus about how we played with our teams in the NBA This is not that this is different team, so we have to play a different way we have to play in whichever Manner individually is best suited [for] our team here and So once we made that decision and that sacrifice to each other then playing with each other became very easy my message to the guys was focus on the next quarter don’t worry about the score I Don’t want you to think that Spain is gonna roll [over] and we’re gonna. Go away because you’re not so what we have to do is focus on What’s working? You know counter what they’re gonna come back with and Focus on those x’s and o’s [I] don’t get too excited about oh, my girl. You got one more half We’re gonna win the gold medal stop thinking about them. Just think about the play in front There’s so much energy in the arena flags and everything. I mean it just made the experience awesome, because they’re singing the [chain] face paint right and and not only Fans that travel to see you again But also other athletes from Spain King and then watch and we’re supporting their [closest] [opponent] country same thing for [ours] and we had Olympic swimmers of diabetes and Runners and awkward you know basketball team players were there to support and [feel] good to be a part of I Think my job because [I’d] [been] there before I Was the only one on the team that fight? I had won championships, and so they look for me to really have that poise in those type of situations is not get rattled not Get flushed or about it. It is what it is and so just to kind of keep that composure [was] part of my job When [he] cut it to two points like three minutes the gauze. I mean this is This is so much fun [yeah], I remember wanting the ball in those situations and Once I made the shot it just felt felt good. Oh yeah, this is all right. [I] want to do it again, right? [and] It felt great I mean You know we’re both very calm and [d-Wave] made a big play Deron Williams made another big play And we were able to finish the game We know when the buzzer went off we all just ran to each other Because they’ve been a really long journey for us, and it was something that was very personal for us to put our country back on Top you know, so we all ran of each other It’s a different It’s a [different] film playing for your country when we play in India you’re playing for A particular City [a] particular market and [you] plan for your country those lines go away [we’re] all together. We’re all playing for USa basketball and It carries a a great honor with that that’s that that goes above and Beyond winning the NBA championship I Think the celebration afterwards after we won the gold medal when y’all went back to the hotel We’re all there together with our families And we’re all taking pictures with the gold medals and celebrating you come into the room. You look at players That should be rivals and should not be hugging and celebrating each other, but we all are Because it’s bigger than ourselves. I mean That that moment was very special If you like videos like this don’t forget to subscribe to the Olympic YouTube channel

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