LeBron James has a little more time than he expected on his hands this summer after he and the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by the Suns.
Does that mean LeBron has time for a little trip to Tokyo at the end of July to be part of the USA Basketball squad at the Olympics?
“I think I’m gonna play for the Tune Squad this summer instead of the Olympics,” LeBron said after the Laker loss, referencing the release of Space Jam 2 on July 16, a movie he stars in. “We’re gonna gear up to beat the MonStars, or the Goon Squad I guess they’re called now.”
LeBron may want to polish up that marketing line before he does the movie promotional tour next month.
LeBron already has two Olympic Gold Medals (2012, 2008) and one Bronze Medal (2004), and has played in world championships and other events for Team USA. He has represented his country plenty of times.
It will be interesting to see which players want to be part of USA Basketball this summer.
On the positive side, players take the honor of representing their country seriously, plus a Gold Medal helps with legacy (and getting into the Hall of Fame, for players in that conversation). In addition, this is a huge international marketing opportunity, and there is pressure from shoe companies and other sponsors to go and help the brand.
On the flip side, there was a short window between last season and this one, followed by a condensed schedule that wore players down. As a result, some players will choose rest. Throw in the uncertainty of the coronavirus and the added protocols due to it, and expect some name players to choose to be at home. LeBron is one of those.