LeBron James decided to skip Rio 2016 in order to give his body a rest, and the basketball universe understood that, in fairness, it was expected.
But with the Rio Games due to conclude today and the USA will compete for a third straight gold medal with Serbia standing in their way, James, of course has been absent from this year’s Olympics, something that he regrets. He also added that he is not done with Team USA just because he skipped Rio 2016.
Every time I watch ’em I wish I was out there…I did not retire from Team USA. I just did not play this summer. So I still left — LeBron James (via Good Morning America)
James currently 31-years-old would be 35 by the time the Tokyo 2020 Olympics came around and with coach Mike Krzyzewski due to coach his last game of international play against Serbia in the gold medal game of the men’s basketball tournament in Rio’s Carioca Arena, James would be coached and mentored by San Antonio Spurs play caller Gregg Popovich, one of the world’s most respected coaches.
Something that James would find difficult to pass up on.
“First off all Coach K and Gregg Popovich are two my favorites of all time,” James said to USA Today. “To be able to play for Coach K in the Olympics and world championships and to be able to go against Coach Pop in the NBA, it would be a treat. Obviously my body has to continue to be in the form that it is today four years from now.”
The moment James captured his second gold medal four years ago in London, he told TalkBasket’s John Hobbs that it was “on par with winning an NBA title”. Now that he has won the Larry O’Brien trophy with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers since his experience at London 2012, his opinion might have changed.
But, as he drops down the USA Basketball all-time scoring list thanks to his Rio 2016 absence, maybe James is thirsty for the same success that he experienced both in Beijing and in London. And wants to end his international career on a high in Tokyo, four years from now.