LeBron James took one step closer to Olympic history Thursday when he was named to the USA Basketball men’s national team roster again for the next three summers. James and Carmelo Anthony could become the first USA men’s basketball players to play in four Olympics if they compete in the 2016 Games.
But that is not yet a sure thing, despite his inclusion on the roster.
“I don’t know where I stand for 2016,” James told reporters in Miami on Thursday. “If I can give to our country by playing, then that would be great to be playing.”
There was speculation last summer James would retire from international play, but Kobe Bryant is the only player from the gold-medal team in 2012 missing from the roster.
James’ inclusion also makes him eligible for this summer’s World Cup team, but he won’t be asked to compete because Team USA typically uses those roster spots for younger players — such as the Cavs’ Kyrie Irving, who was also named to the team Thursday.
“LeBron has an incredible opportunity to do it a fourth time,” USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo said Thursday. “For him to do it a fourth time would be just another star or asterisk next to his name and his career. It appears that’s exactly what he wants to try.”
James attended Duke’s game in Miami on Wednesday night and chatted briefly with Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is the Team USA coach.
“He’s really excited,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s really put his face on USA Basketball for this last decade and how he’s handled things has really helped in the development of younger players and how they approach the game.”
Teresa Edwards played in five Olympics for the U.S. women’s basketball team, while Brazil’s Oscar Schmidt, Australia’s Andrew Gaze and Puerto Rico’s Teofilo Cruz also played in five Olympics. James and Anthony are tied with David Robinson, who also played in three Olympics for Team USA (1988, 1992, 1996).
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.