- Sochi 2014: Beer and Bieber at stake in US v Canada ice hockey semi
- Sally Pearson eyes return to fitness ahead of Commonwealth Games
- Jacques Rogge: Wrestling not out for the count in 2020 Olympics
- ISAF World Youth Championships: Henson elated with bronze
- London 2012 Olympics: Brownlee brothers didn’t plan photo-finish
- Sochi 2014: Call me maybe? Russian snowboarder Alexey Sobolev uses head to find dates
Kobe Bryant: USA will field most powerful Olympic team ever
Kobe Byrant is promising the USA will bring their strongest ever basketball team to the London 2012 Olympics this summer
Fans in London will be treated to Team USA’s strongest Olympic roster ever this summer, according to Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
The Americans will arrive at the Olympics as heavy favourites and have announced a preliminary squad headlined by Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard.
Winning gold in Beijing four years ago put Team USA back on top of the basketball mountain – but Bryant believes the Americans can make an even more powerful statement in London.
“In terms of talent, for sure this is the strongest team we’ve ever had for the Olympics,” he told national press agency Sportsbeat.
“This is a big Olympics for us. We have an opportunity to kind of cement ourselves again as a powerhouse of the game.
“We won at the last Olympics, we won the World Championships [in 2010] and now we want to win in London. Then I think that will put us back where we belong.”
Bryant embraced the role of ‘closer’ in Beijing, taking the key shots late in games, particularly in the gold medal game against Spain.
And the 33-year-old is eager to shoulder that responsibility again in London while leaving his younger team-mates to spearhead the quest for gold.
“With that team, I don’t have to do much,” he admitted. “I’m just the closer. They can just bring me in for the last two minutes or something like that, if they need me.
“Hitting the big shots is what I do. LeBron, D-Wade, Durant and all those guys can do the heavy lifting.”
Meanwhile, Luol Deng’s selection for the NBA All-Star game has been hailed by his peers.
Deng will become the first Brit to play in the prestige match after enjoying a stellar season with the Chicago Bulls, despite missing seven matches with a wrist injury.
Toronto Raptors’ James Johnson, who spent two years in Chicago as Deng’s understudy, was delighted for his former team-mate.
“It’s no surprise to me – he deserves it,” he said “I thought he deserved to be selected in my rookie year  too.
“It’s great to see a couple of guys from the Chicago Bulls going to the All-Star game and it’s great for Luol – who I look up to. It’s excellent news.”
Boston Celtics veteran Ray Allen, a ten-time All-Star and an NBA champion in 2008, added: “I’m not surprised. The team has one of the best records in the NBA and he’s been a consistent player.
“I’m not sure how points he’s been averaging but he has contributed a lot to their success so he definitely deserves it.”◀ The Sport Review homepageNext story ►
- Ainslie announces engagement to Thompson
- Farah wins Great North Run and sets new personal best
- Johnson-Thompson vows to make up for lost time
- Devine hopes luck is about to change
- Greaves eyes Doha triumph after great 2014
Read more on...
Photo: Sir Ben Ainslie announces engagement to Georgie Thompson2 weeks ago Olympics
Mo Farah wins Great North Run in new personal best time1 month ago Olympics
Katarina Johnson-Thompson vows to make up for lost time1 month ago Olympics
Paralympic runner David Devine hopes luck is about to change2 months ago Olympics
Paralympic discus thrower Dan Greaves eyes Doha triumph after great 20142 months ago Olympics
Kirani James hails home fans after 400m win at Sainsbury’s Grand Prix2 months ago Olympics
Mo Farah breaks British record over two miles at Sainsbury’s Grand Prix2 months ago Olympics
Stunning seven medals for Britain on night two at Europeans2 months ago Olympics
Mo Farah makes history as GB end record-breaking Euros on high2 months ago Olympics
Greg Rutherford prepared to jump big at European Championships2 months ago Olympics
Lizzie Armitstead third at RideLondon Women’s Grand Prix2 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Tom Daley storms to gold3 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Purvis exceeded own expectations with gold3 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Tom Daley thrilled with 10m synchro silver3 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dowsett uses anger to power to gold3 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Williams targets Jamaica after 200m silver3 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Max Whitlock leads home nation clean sweep3 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Greg Rutherford thrilled with gold3 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Proud follows Hasall’s golden lead3 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Sharman edged out in hurdles thriller3 months ago Olympics