Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James gave credit to international basketball squads Saturday after Team USA's seventh-place showing at the FIBA World Cup earlier this month.
"The rest of the world is better," James told reporters after practice. "But we continue to get better as well as Americans."
Team USA featured a talented crew that included Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, but many of the game's best players—including James—did not play in the tournament.
James also noted that having more star talent doesn't guarantee success.
"No," James said. "It doesn't because you still have to go out there and work and play the game. But it does strengthen our team, and it does give us a very good chance going into the worlds if we were all to do that."
Team USA will turn its attention to the 2020 Summer Olympics, which begin on July 24 in Tokyo.
Per Mark Medina of USA Today, superstars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, James Harden and Damian Lillard "all expressed an openness toward returning," as has James.
"James maintained that he would love to play for the U.S. Olympic team again," Medina wrote. James also said he "will always bleed red, white and blue."
Davis also made his intentions clear Saturday:
Although Team USA finished seventh at the World Cup, it still earned a berth in the 2020 Summer Olympics by virtue of being one of the top two teams from the FIBA Americas zone. Argentina is the other.
Team USA has won gold at the Summer Olympics in six of the last seven Games.