LeBron James is not yet ready to take permanent leave from Team USA basketball.
Shame on you for thinking he was.
Just kidding. It makes sense that you would feel that way. LeBron is 31 and turned down an opportunity to play for Team USA this summer in Rio. He will be halfway toward his 36th birthday when the 2020 Olympics roll around. It seems unlikely that he would don the Team USA colors again.
Except he might. He made that much clear while speaking with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols:
Oh & yes, talked Olympics with LeBron too. Here was his quote to me. (Also noted how, gosh, Tokyo is a nice city 😀) pic.twitter.com/1jgbr51sab
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) August 17, 2016
Why not, right? LeBron will still be a star by that point, assuming he’s healthy. And unlike now, he won’t necessarily have to protect his future. I mean, the dude will be barreling toward his 36th birthday and 18th NBA season. He could have another ring or two or three by then (though winning even one will be tough with the Golden State Warriors being the Golden State Warriors and all). Rest may not matter as much to him in 2020, in the sense that, if he wants to compete for a gold medal again, he’ll do it without thinking twice.
Plus, if LeBron is thinking about playing in 2020, maybe Carmelo Anthony will follow his lead. He will presumably still be ringless and, assuming all goes according to plan in Rio from here, a fourth gold-medal run will help soften the blow of his naked fingers.
Just some food for thought here. LeBron has four years to make a decision. Anything could happen during that time. Still, as of now, it would be nice to see him give it one last go on the international stage.