Lakers' Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard Comment on Playing in 2020 Olympics

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 29: Dwight Howard #39 and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate while playing the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on December 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
John McCoy/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers power forward Anthony Davis was noncommittal about making an effort to play for Team USA at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo after being named one of the 44 finalists.

"I don't know; I'm getting old," Davis, 26, jokingly told reporters Monday. "I don't know."

Lakers center Dwight Howard, who helped the U.S. win a gold medal in 2008, also commented. 

"For my agent to call me and say, 'Hey, would you like to be on the Olympic Team again?' At first, I thought it was a dream," he said. "After I guess over 10 years, 2008, to be asked to play in the Olympics again. There was no way I was going to say no for that opportunity. To have a chance to win a gold medal, to travel the world, to play basketball—there was no way I was going to turn that down."

Davis, a member of the gold medal-winning team at the London Olympics in 2012, missed the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro because of a shoulder surgery.

"That's tough. It's definitely tough," he said in 2016. "Twenty-three years old. ... A couple more Olympics, maybe? But it's definitely a tough situation. I love USA Basketball, love when I was there in 2012, love when I played in the World Cup in 2014."

Although the United States is always a heavy favorite at the Olympics, this year's Games are taking on a greater meeting after a makeshift American squad finished seventh at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Most of the NBA's top players opted to skip the event in order to rest last summer instead.

Davis, who's averaging 26.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in his first year with the Lakers, would likely be a member of the starting five if he decides to play.

Meanwhile, Howard is no longer the high-impact player he was in 2008 in part because the sport has evolved to rely far less on an old-school center. That said, he's enjoying a solid season as a reserve for L.A., putting up 7.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game across 52 appearances.

"I carried around my gold medal for almost four, five years after we won it the first time," he said Monday. "Everywhere I went. On the road, even during the season I took it with me and I’d just look at it everyday like, man, this is amazing that I got a gold medal. I’d love to have another one."

If Team USA gets full participation from its superstars, Howard probably won't make the final roster, but he could provide similar frontcourt depth from the Americans as he does for the Lakers if a sizable group of top players once again decide to skip international play this year.

It wouldn't be a surprise if Davis' decision, and that of other high-profile players, hinges on the Lakers' LeBron James. The NBA's longtime gold standard explained there's "a lot of factors but my name is in the hat" after being named among the finalists.

If the 35-year-old four-time MVP decides to lace up his Nikes one more time for Team USA, a lot of his fellow superstars would likely follow suit, which would allow the U.S. to once again establish its basketball dominance on the Olympic stage after the World Cup disappointment.

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