LeBron James’ Olympic gold medal winning days are over, according to USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo.
Before the next NBA season begins, the USA Basketball National Team is in the middle of a busy training camp, with a few important competitions on the horizon. On Monday, the team will host the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit, the traditional pre-Olympic exhibition game that has taken place every year since 2006. The game will pit this year’s USA squad against one of the best young teams in the world, the World champion Dominican Republic. After the Nike Hoop Summit, the team will travel to Las Vegas for the 2013 FIBA World Championship, where the Americans will try to defend their gold medal from two years ago.
In November, there was a lot of talk about the possibility that LeBron James would be able to play in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. And while there had been plenty of speculation that James would be able to participate in the Summer Games in August, a few days ago, James himself had an update on his status.Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has decided not to participate in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The USA Basketball executive thinks this is likely the end of James’ international career. James leaves the podium with two Olympic gold medals, an Olympic bronze medal and a FIBA World Championship bronze medal.
In total, James has competed in three Olympic Games and one World Championship. However, since he will be 38 years old by the next major international competition, the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Championship, it is likely that James will no longer wear the red-white-and-blue jersey.
LeBron James leaves a complicated legacy in the international game. That’s not surprising. Instead, it’s just the story of his entire career.
Since pro basketball was allowed to compete internationally, American basketball has dominated the world stage. The Dream Team, which competed in Barcelona in 1992, sparked interest in basketball around the world. This team also defeated their opponents on their way to the gold medal. In eight games, Team USA has never scored less than 103 points. The narrowest win was against Croatia with 32 points. Closer games were played in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, but USA Basketball won gold each time.
In 2004, U.S. national team coach Larry Brown put together a team that looked more like the college teams from before 1992. Six of the players were 22 or younger, and LeBron James was still a teenager. The U.S. lost more games in Athens (three) than in the previous 14 Olympics combined (two).
Argentina defeated the Americans in the semifinals. Team USA then defeated Lithuania to win the bronze medal. James was a reserve on that team and averaged 5.4 points per game.
LeBron James celebrates his victory during the men’s basketball final at the 2012 London Olympics. | Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images
Before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, USA Basketball asked for a bigger commitment. NBA stars responded. Three players from the Athens fiasco have returned to the team that was named Team Redemption before Beijing. In addition to LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Carlos Boozer are also back to help the U.S. get back on top.
LeBron led USA Basketball to another gold medal in 2012, this time in London. Lithuania proved to be another challenge in group play, and the U.S. won 99-94. In the battle for the gold medal, Spain also gave Basketball USA a run for their money, but could not return the favor. The USA won the gold medal with a score of 107-100.
In Beijing, James averaged 15.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. In London, his numbers were 13.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game. However, James has decided not to go to Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and he will not go to Tokyo either. USA Basketball general manager Jerry Colangelo told ESPN he could read the sign on the wall.
You know, your time as a father has consequences. … If you’re a human, your body is designed to last that long, depending on the sport you play, and from then on everything breaks down. LeBron has decided to skip the latest Olympics because he has a lot on his mind. So he’s served his time, made contributions that are appreciated, but I think his time is up.
As James himself said, he has another team he wants to play for this summer.
The 2020-21 season was the 18th of LeBron James’ illustrious NBA career. James currently ranks third in the NBA in scoring with 35,367 points. That’s 3,020 points less than the previous leader, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That’s basically two full campaigns, knowing that James didn’t score at least 1,500 points in the 2020-21 season for the first time in his career (he missed 27 games and finished with 1,126 points).
Next season, James is expected to cross the 10,000 assists mark in his career. Only six players made it, and they were all playmakers. But James will be the first player on the front line to accomplish this feat. James has been used as a point guard the last two seasons, but has spent most of his career at the 3 or 4 position.
Coincidentally, James also has two years left on his contract. So the betting man can bet that LeBron will go after Kareem for the next two years and then leave.
At this point, with nearly $435 million in his career, he has almost no mountains to climb.
statistics provided by Basketball Reference and USA Basketball.
COMPARED TO: Andre Drummond talks about LeBron James’ impact on the Lakers’ future
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