Mostly, Bryant took in his surroundings and said he planned to make a lot of mental imprints the next two weeks. The wise sage, who finally understands what’s important and what’s not.
“This time around I want to do some of the major sports, but I also want to see some of the ones that don’t get the recognition,” he said of his London experience. “I want to go see a little bit of archery, weightlifting, wrestling. I definitely want to check out some gymnastics, the diving, it’s a long list.
“That’s definitely my wish list. Whether or not I can pull it off remains to be seen.’’
Asked if there was a certain athlete he wanted badly to see, he mentioned five-time world champion cyclist Victoria Pendleton from Britain. “I would love to go see her and try and get her sixth. That would be pretty cool.”
You know what I was thinking when he said that? Fewer than half of those reporters had even heard the name “Victoria Pendleton” before Bryant blurted it out; the guy genuinely wants to see her ride her bike.
Before the scrum broke up, someone asked if this all-star collection of players had a name yet. “That’s your job to come up with a story for this team,” Mamba said, surveying the media jackals at his feet. “You came up with the Redeem Team [in 2008], which is a pretty good name.’’
“We don’t have a name for this team yet.”
Hmmm. Until they prove themselves, how about “The Seem Team?” They could be great, but we don’t know.
Or, given unselfish players such as James, Paul, Deron Williams and Kevin Durant, this crew appears to be the real deal as far as passers go — not just one-on-one playground kings. So maybe, “The Supreme Team.”
Personally, seeing the player who will turn 34 next month in his last Olympic go-round fully grasp the Games and their meaning, understanding how his role as a shut-down defender and leader is going to be central to another Team USA gold medal, why not give into cornball sentimentality and just call them “The Bean Team” — after The Black Mamba’s middle name?
Because it’s his squad as much as anyone’s, just as it was once Kobe Bryant’s league more than anyone’s.
Either way, as the career of the greatest ’baller since Michael winds down, here’s hoping O.G. never stands for Old Guy.
For previous columns by Mike Wise, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.