Seattle Storm

Kobe Bryant challenged Jewell Loyd to make the U.S. Women’s National Basketball Team

Seattle Storm

Playing in the Olympics is a rare opportunity for high-caliber players to play together and get to know each other as people.

It’s an opportunity so rare that for some it only comes around once in a career.

For Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm, she plans to capitalize on her first Olympic selection to represent her country in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Some of her teammates beside her Storm partners in Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird will be Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles, and A’ja Wilson to name a few.

“It’s better to be teammates with all these players than having to play against them,” Loyd said.

Loyd was also named to the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game and is showing once again that she’s one of the best players in the game. The three-time All-Star is currently averaging 17.5 points, her highest since 2017 and shooting 44.4% from the field, a career-high.

Her stellar play has earned her an opportunity only a few athletes can experience.

“It’s definitely been a journey,” Loyd said. “A journey that is different for a lot of us… all my hard work with late-night workouts and trying to figure out who I am in this league has been special and I wouldn’t change any of it.”

Part of the reason Loyd works so hard is a reason why so many around the world strive to be great: Kobe Bryant. 

One of the best to ever grace the court developed a very personal bond with Loyd. To the point where Bryant bestowed Loyd as “The Gold Mamba,” and the Storm guard has labeled him as a mentor for her.

 

Bryant gave Loyd the goal of making the U.S. Women’s National Basketball Team, which she finally achieved. Now it’s on her and her teammates to do what Bryant has only done in international play: win gold.

“This was the last challenge he presented to me, to go make the team,” she said. “It’s definitely special having the opportunity to do that. All the workouts led to this point and I’m going to cherish it and know every time I step on the court he’s with me.”