Anthony Edwards’ hilarious Kobe Bryant objection when asked to be like Dwyane Wade for Team USA

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

Anthony Edwards has continued his emergence toward superstardom with his recent play for Team USA, with the 22-year-old invoking the name of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant to make sure he had the role he felt he deserved on the team.

Head coach Steve Kerr reportedly talked with Edwards about possibly coming of the bench for the American team, but the Minnesota Timberwolves standout had other ideas.

“I mean, of course I wasn’t cool with it,” Edwards said. “If that’s what it takes, I mean, I am willing to do it, but nah, I’m never cool with that. … He said Dwyane Wade came off the bench when Kobe played. I was like, all right, we don’t have a Kobe, but all right. But it was cool.”

Edwards has been playing at a level that would make Bryant proud, helping Team USA win all five of its exhibition games leading up to the 2023 FIBA World Cup tournament that begins this week. He was exceptional in the final exhibition game on Sunday against Germany, scoring 34 points and playing excellent defense in helping it rally from 16 points down in the second half to win 99-91.

Kerr had been considering Edwards for the role Wade played on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, which competed in Beijing and was known as the “Redeem Team” after the Americans had disappointed with a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. In addition to Bryant, the 2008 gold medal-winning team included LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, and Wade actually led it in scoring despite coming off the bench.

Edwards’ play recently was compared very favorably to Wade’s by none other than Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, who is an assistant coach on Kerr’s Team USA staff.

Bryant also has been mentioned by NBA players representing other countries in the World Cup, with Utah Jazz veteran Jordan Clarkson expressing gratitude for starting his career with the Lakers as teammates with the NBA icon. Clarkson will play for the Philippines in the tournament.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Edwards averaged 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game for the Timberwolves last season and was rewarded with a new five-year contract reportedly worth up to $260 million this offseason. The University of Georgia product is part of the Team USA starting five that includes Jalen Brunson, Brandon Ingram, Mikal Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr.

The team, which includes emerging Lakers star Austin Reaves, opens play in the tournament on Saturday against New Zealand.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.