After he hinted at it, it’s now official: LeBron James won’t play for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics.
Rich Paul, James’ agent, told the Associated Press that James has informed USA Basketball that he has withdrawn his name from consideration from the Olympic roster. The 2016 Olympics would have been James’ fourth Olympics and he would have been played for his third Olympic Gold Medal.
James is sitting out the Finals in order to rest ahead of next season and waited until after this season wrapped so he could make a fully informed decision. At 31, he’s played in six straight NBA Finals, played a record number of minutes for someone his age and probably just needs a break to fully recharge for next season.
This could mark the end of LeBron playing on the international stage. James will be 35 when the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo begin and James likely won’t play in any of the other international competitions between now and then.
He also isn’t the only star player to sit out the Olympics. Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Clippers guard Chris Paul and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook are among the American NBA stars electing not to play. Team USA - which will feature Cavs guard Kyrie Irving if he wants to go to Rio - will still be the overwhelming favorite to take home the gold medal even without James and the rest. The team will just look a little different than it has in year’s past and James’ absence is perhaps the biggest reason why.
The 2016 Summer Olympics kick off on August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.