LeBron’s Olympic Career Is Over
LeBron James’ days of playing for Team USA have likely ended. James, 28, will not play for USA Basketball during the 2014 world championships in Spain and is doubtful to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, a source close to the Miami Heat forward told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday. USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo also confirmed to Yahoo! Sports he doesn’t expect James to play next summer – and doesn’t plan to ask him. James has already won two Olympic gold medals and a bronze in three Olympic appearances that began in 2004. James has won two gold medals and a bronze in his three Olympics. (AP)”LeBron is going to be three years older during the next Olympics. He will have two older boys. He has a lot to endure with his family,” the source told Y! Sports. “He played in three Olympics. Everyone that knows LeBron knows it’s always based on a decision at that moment. But if the moment was today, the answer would be no.” James would benefit from more offseason rest as he gets older, especially given how many playoff games he’s playing. He’s made three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and played in a combined 99 NBA games last season after taking part in the 2012 London Olympics. Since winning his second straight title with the Heat last month, James has had a busy summer with trips to China and the Philippines, commercial shoots, his prep basketball camp in Las Vegas, business meetings – and planning for his upcoming wedding. “The only way I could see him playing in the Olympics is if his country really, really needed him to play,” the source said. “But hasn’t he done enough?” Another sign that James’ international playing days are nearing an end: Colangelo proclaimed Kevin Durant as “kind of the face of USA Basketball going forward” to reporters after Wednesday’s minicamp practice. Durant and Kevin Love announced they will play for the U.S. next summer. Colangelo said he expects another “two or four” members from the past Olympics team to play next year. Durant said he expects Russell Westbrook and James Harden to play next year. Kyrie Irving and Paul George, who participated in this week’s minicamp, also are expected to be on the team. James might not be the only U.S. veteran to stop playing internationally. Kobe Bryant is 34 and coming off season-ending Achilles surgery. Dwyane Wade (31), Chris Bosh (29) and even Chris Paul (28) also could want to cut back their time on the court after the NBA season ends. “Those guys are getting older,” Durant said. “Their time is precious.” Colangelo has not asked James about the 2016 Olympics, but would welcome him if he changes his mind and decides to play.”I don’t think he will ever too old,” Colangelo said. “He can be 40 and still be able to play. Think of what he might be able to accomplish in terms of legacy with one more medal. “We’ll cross that bridge later.” – Yahoo Sports
So LeBron James is done playing in the Olympics. Before I get started, I’m willing to admit that I don’t like the guy. He’s the best player in the game, and quite possibly the best athlete the NBA has ever produced, but I still don’t like him. With that said, let’s not pretend that this is about LeBron wanting to watch his two boys grow up, or that he’ll be 31 when team USA attempts to win gold in Brazil in 2016. The fact of the matter is LeBron James just isn’t that interesting anymore. The majority of his supporters are bandwagon fans at best, which means they are quiet as church mice during the off season. While the number of LeBron haters has certaintly grown since “The Decision”, it’s increasingly harder to bash the guy. He just won back to back NBA championships, (could have been a 3 peat, but he played the German God’s gift to basketball in 2011) an MVP award, (his 4th) and he already owns two Olympic gold medals. Even an admitted hater like me is finding it hard to discredit him. If your “fans” aren’t talking about you, and your trash talking bashers are left speechless, who is left to pump your tires? If LeBron played in the next two Olympic’s, he would be just another great player on an uber talented team. Whether you love LeBron or you hate LeBron, you know that’s not how he rolls. If he’s not the center of attention, he fades into bolivian. As the Yahoo article states, Kevin Durant is being positioned as the new face of team USA basketball. A supremely talented, 24 year old phenom hungry for gold medals and championships, still motivated by a finals loss two years ago. Remind you of anyone?