Only the best will do for Bryant
Kobe Bryant says nothing but gold will do for the USA team
If the England football team think they get put under pressure to deliver from fans and media, they should try being the United States basketball team.
The defending Olympic and world champions will take on Great Britain in Manchester on Thursday in the latest stage of their preparations for London 2012, where only gold will do. The level of scrutiny and expectation put on the team was summed up neatly by Los Angeles Lakers star and 2008 gold medal winner Kobe Bryant.
"With the US team, it's win the gold or don't come back," he said. "They will revoke our citizenship."
Bryant, who is hoping to catch up with his friend David Beckham during the Olympics, added: "It's much the same as you guys do with your football team. It's the same with us, but we look at it as an opportunity.
"It's an honour to represent your country and have your country expect you to win a gold medal. You want them to expect the best of you, and we enjoy trying to deliver that."
In terms of superstar status, LeBron James shares the spotlight with Bryant, and the Miami Heat forward heads into the Games having finally claimed his first NBA title earlier this year.
With the weight lifted, James wants to cap a great year with another gold medal.
"The (NBA Finals and the Olympics) are both the high standard in my career," he said.
"This is a great opportunity and I'm looking forward to it.
"(Gold) is my goal. That's why I'm part of this team."
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