Few basketball players, if any, have logged as many minutes as LeBron James has. This seems to be the reason that The King has declined his USAB invitation, and will not represent the United States during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, according to Joe Vardon of cleveland.com.
“I could use the rest,” James said. And rightfully so.
Since entering the league in 2003, James has completed 13 NBA seasons with 11 playoff appearances and has played with the United States’ national team on six different occasions: three Olympics (2004, 2008, 2012), one Olympic exhibition with Team USA (2012), one FIBA World Cup (2006), and one FIBA Americas Championship (2007).
The total number of minutes played? 47,919.
That’s a lot of basketball. And when you add in how much he’s had to do for every team he’s played on, the fatigue intensifies. It’s been widely noted of other superstars dropping out of USAB consideration. Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, and others have all informed Team USA that they will not be making the trip.
It’s a shame that we won’t get to watch James play this summer, but it’ll be worth it once a well-rested LeBron steps foot on the NBA floor next year. Aside from the entertainment value, James would’ve been able to make history by capturing his fourth Olympic medal, a feat no other American men’s basketball player has done before. Carmelo Anthony has accompanied James on every Olympic trip since 2004, and the two join David Robinson as the only three to have three medals. Now, Anthony will look to join Gennadi Volnov and Sergei Belov of the USSR as the only basketball players to win four medals in the Olympics.
Fortunately, James didn’t show any worries about the Zika virus and joined countless other stars in choosing rest over accolades. His trophy case is full enough, and now the next wave of stars will get to shine on the international stage.