You can’t blame LeBron James for this decision. (Although some will, welcome to the World Wide Web.)
After going to six straight NBA Finals — and you can throw the London Olympics in that run — LeBron James has told USA Basketball he will not take part in the Rio Olympics, something first reported by Joe Varden at Cleveland.com.
LeBron James informed USA Basketball that he would not participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August, citing the glut of court time he’s logged through six consecutive trips to the Finals. James’ agent Rich Paul informed Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo Thursday of James’ decision.
“I could use the rest,” James told cleveland.com.
This is not a surprise, LeBron said he was leaning this way. He’s also not the only guy to make this call today, with Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, and now Gordon Hayward walking away from the games.
Gordon soon after released a statement:
Two thoughts here:
First, the guys are saying no to this because of legitimate health concerns — the Zika virus plus malaria and other outbreaks in Brazil. Look at a lot of the guys stepping away — LeBron, Hayward, Chris Paul and on down the line — and you see family guys, people who wanted to bring their family to Brazil for the experience, and now think better of it because of health concerns.
Second, LeBron has played in three Olympics, as many as any American basketball player. He’s not shorted his country. Also, if you are arguing “there are people fighting and dying for this country and he won’t play basketball,” then your inability to discern between national security and your entertainment is incredibly disturbing. That’s an apples and elephants comparison.
The USA’s roster as we know it now is: Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Indiana’s Paul George, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, LA Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, and New York’s Carmelo Anthony. Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving is expected to take one of the two final spots, but no decision has been made.