LeBron James, considered by many to be the best basketball player in the world, is unlikely to play for the United States basketball team again, at least on paper.
LeBron is probably done playing for Team USA. Unless, of course, he changes his mind. http://t.co/zFhfhI0x1s
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) July 25, 2013
James has already declined to join the team for the World Championships in 2014, which makes it all the more likely that he will not participate in the 2016 Olympics. That would mean it would be 2018 before he could play in the Worlds and 2020 before the next Olympics would roll around.
James will be 30 in 2018. Not that 30 is technically old, even by NBA standards, but there is his life outside of basketball and extending his career to consider. His two sons will be approaching their teenage years at that point, and considering that he entered the league as a teenager himself his odometer will have plenty of miles on it by then, especially if he keeps leading his team to the finals year after year. The call of family and taking care of his body in order to play in the league longer will more than likely prove too strong.
While it may be disappointing to some that arguably the best player in the world would no longer be representing the US, it is not as if he has not already done his duty. James already holds two olympic golds and a bronze, as well as a bronze at the World Championships and a gold in the FIBA Americas tournament. In the end, NBA immortality and time with his sons will probably trump climbing the same international mountain again.
Of course, this is all speculation. With his freakish athleticism James could very well win another Olympic gold and several NBA champioships; it just depends on his mood.
As for Team USA, they will just have to settle for the best players in the world not named LeBron James. All things considered, they should be just fine.