LeBron James Reportedly Done with Team USA, International Basketball Career
Two Olympic gold medals and a bronze are likely going to be enough for LeBron James, who is reportedly finished with Team USA and his international basketball career.
The news comes from Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears:
James, 28, will not play for USA Basketball during the 2013 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.
It's not as if he has anything left to prove on this stage.
James has already accomplished plenty with Team USA, winning two Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012), one Olympic bronze (2004) and a bronze medal at the FIBA World Championships (2006).
Not only that, but he's going to be 29 years old by next summer's FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain and 31 before the Rio Olympics in 2016. That doesn't exactly make LeBron ancient, but when you consider the mileage he has already put on his body, it's not surprising that he wants a little more free time during the NBA offseason.
In 10 NBA seasons, counting both the regular season and postseason, James has logged over 900 games and 36,000 minutes, per Basketball Reference.
Not only that, but as Spears notes, James' most recent summer included trips across the world, commercial shoots, prep basketball camps and wedding planning. LeBron is a busy man, and as he gets older, he will need some time to relax and recuperate.
Of course, if Team USA were to really need him, one of Spears' sources believes James would be willing to come back in 2016.
How will Team USA do at the 2014 Basketball World Cup without James?
"The only way I could see him playing in the Olympics is if his country really, really needed him to play," the source said.
Even with James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and others nearing the end of their international careers, the United States is loaded with young talent. Kevin Durant leads the way, but with burgeoning superstars like Kyrie Irving, Paul George, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry (just to name a handful) still coming into their own, the future is bright for USA Basketball.
If James does indeed sit out the Olympics, it will be a little surreal not seeing him on the court in red, white and blue. That said, this is a decision that makes a lot of sense considering his long-term health and aspirations to win more titles with the Heat.
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