Despite already winning two Olympic gold medals (and having another one of bronze), LeBron James is likely to show up for the Team USA camp in Las Vegas next week, mandatory for anyone who wants to be considered for the 2016 Olympic games.
The Olympics are more appealing than playing in the World Championship. Great players still compete in the world’s. Kevin Durant starred in 2010, while a more balanced approached was taken in 2014 after Durant withdrew, fearing injury, and then got injured regardless and missed most of the 2014-2015 with more injuries coming his way.
But the Olympics are rarely refused by those who get called up and are in contention for a spot. Damian Lillard might be the exception, still angry about being left out from the 2014 team, probably to make way for Derrick Rose, which had more to do with Tom Thibodeau’s pull than his actual ability, playing for the national team despite missing almost all of the previous season.
James didn’t win the MVP last season, but his playoff performances and especially in the finals suggested that he still is the best player in the NBA, who simply isn’t forcing his scoring and other aspects of his game when he doesn’t have to. And if he’s serious about playing for the national team again, it’s hard to see him not making it, although you never know what can happen.
James is part of the 41-player extended roster but wasn’t expected to show up. Now that it appears that he is (according to NBA Gametime), it probably hurts the chances of quite a few players to make the team, as the approach of letting those who haven’t had the chance to win a gold has disappeared a long time ago, and the current method is simply picking the best team possible, which makes a lot of sense considering this isn’t about charity, but about dominating global basketball.