LeBron James Declines Invite to Play in Rio 2016 Olympics

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2016

United States' LeBron James celebrates after the men's gold medal basketball game at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. USA won 107-100. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

No American men's basketball player has won four Olympic medals. LeBron James will pass on making history.

Via his agent, James told Team USA on Thursday he will not make the trip to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Games, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.

"I could use the rest," James said.

The All-Star forward played in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. The 2004 team settled for a bronze medal, which led to a complete overhaul of the USA Basketball program. The squad then won gold medals in 2008 and 2012.

Gennadi Volnov and Sergei Belov of the former USSR are the only men's basketball players in history with four Olympic medals. James and Carmelo Anthony are tied with David Robinson for the most Olympic medals (three) in men's USA Basketball history. Teresa Edwards won four gold medals and one bronze with the U.S. women's team.

Anthony reportedly informed Team USA on Thursday he will make the trip to Rio, per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

James had been non-committal in the lead-up to the Games. He attended last summer's minicamp but did not participate in workouts following his fifth straight appearance in the NBA Finals.

It's understandable for James to cede the spotlight to a younger generation. He has played nearly 47,000 NBA minutes in the regular season and postseason, and the Cavaliers just slogged through a seven-game classic with the Golden State Warriors—with James playing 40-plus minutes six times, including four games of 42-plus minutes and two of 45-plus.

In March, he said he'd make his decision based on "what benefits me, my body and the way I feel," per Vardon.

James joins a long list of stars who have opted out of consideration for the team, including Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard. Rest was regularly cited, but Brazil's issues with the Zika virus may also be giving players pause.

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