Kobe Bryant has trashed NBA-led proposals to make the Olympic basketball competition for Under-23s only as a “dumb idea.”

The Los Angeles Lakers guard was speaking in Manchester ahead of the USA’s friendly against Great Britain on Thursday as both teams prepare for London 2012.

Bryant, who will bid for the second gold medal of his career this summer, would be ruled out of competing in another Games under the plans unveiled earlier this year by the NBA’s Deputy Commissioner Joel Silver.

And, 20 years after the Dream Team brought the advent of a new era for international basketball, he believes it could ruin the competition for future generations.

“It’s a stupid idea, “Bryant said. “It should be a (individual) choice.

“The Olympics is really about putting the best athletes out there to compete against the best. From a basketball standpoint, it would lessen the Olympics, absolutely..

Bryant received support from USA team-mate and fellow NBA All Star Chris Paul.

“I’m thankful they haven’t thought about that now,” said Paul. “If that was the case, I wouldn’t be able to play now. I’m 27 years old.

“I personally would like for it to be your own decision. Because playing in an Olympics, this will be my second, is the greatest experience of my life. I like having the option.”

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