Kobe: Team USA needs better chemistry to win gold

Updated: September 7, 2006, 1:27 PM ET
Associated Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The U.S. basketball team will have to work on its internal chemistry if it wants to perform well at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Kobe Bryant said Thursday.

Klosterman: Plan for Team USA
I have a plan that will save USA basketball.

This plan won't guarantee that we will win gold in men's basketball at the 2008 Olympics, nor does it mean that the team created by this plan would be more talented than the squad that just ended up with the bronze at the World Championship in Saitama, Japan. But it would nonetheless save USA basketball, and it would improve society as a whole (not by much, but certainly more than the premise of sending 12 millionaires across the globe to play in a tournament in which any loss is viewed as a complete failure).

• To read more of Chuck Klosterman's game plan for Team USA, click here.

The Los Angeles Lakers' All-Star guard was visiting Taiwan on a five-leg tour of Asia to meet with fans.

Last Sunday, the U.S. players returned home from the world championship in Japan with bronze medals -- just like the country won at the 2004 Olympics.

Both results were widely seen as disappointments.

Bryant, 27, told a news conference in Taipei that a newly assembled team always needed some time together before starting to play with consistency.

"Years playing together will jell us as a unit, [but] if there is no chemistry, it's going to be tough to beat all those talented teams," he said.

Bryant said he was confident the two years up to the Beijing Olympics would be enough to find that chemistry.

Bryant's tour took him to Japan and Hong Kong. On Friday, the basketball star was scheduled to leave Taiwan for South Korea. He will also visit China.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press