The days of seeing LeBron James in the red, white, and blue appear to be over.
After his Lakers were bounced in the first round of the NBA Playoffs by the Phoenix Suns, James announced that he intends to skip the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, choosing instead to spend his summer playing for the “Tune Squad” in his upcoming movie “Space Jam 2.”
“I think I’m going to play for the ‘Tune Squad’ this summer instead of the Olympics,” James told reporters. “That’s what my focus is on. Trying to beat the ‘Monstars’ or the ‘Goon Squad.’ So, didn’t have much success versus the Suns, so now I am gearing my attention to the ‘Goon Squad’ here in July, in mid-July.”
“So, I’m gonna let the ankle rest for about a month and then I’m going to gear up with Lola, Taz, Granny, Bugs, and the rest of the crew. So hopefully I’ll see y’all at the match,” he concluded.
James’ decision was not unexpected after a condensed NBA season in his 18th year in the league, but at least it was his decision to make.
On Wednesday, Jerry Colangelo — USA Basketball managing director — told ESPN that James’ days representing the United States in the Olympics are over.
“You know, Father Time takes its toll,” Colangelo said. “… If you’re a human being, your body is built to go so long depending on what your sport is, and then it’s a downhill situation. LeBron made choices these last couple of Olympics not to participate because he’s got a lot of things going on in his life. So he put in his time, he made a contribution that is appreciated, but I think his time is over.”
The Tokyo Olympics will be the second consecutive Olympics that James has opted out of. He’s played for three U.S. Olympic teams, capturing the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the 2012 Olympics in London.
The 2020 Team USA roster was finalized Monday, with stars Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, and Jayson Tatum highlighting the roster. Multiple All-Stars declined to participate due to injuries, the condensed season, and shortened offseason.
Along with James, Anthony Davis is rehabbing from a groin injury, James Harden withdrew his name due to a hamstring injury, and Steph Curry also opted out.
The roster selection stirred some controversy last week, as Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers was chosen to be one of the twelve on the team.
His selection turned controversial after ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called his addition “tokenism.”
“Kevin Love is on the team because of tokenism,” Rose said on “Jalen & Jacoby. “Don’t be scared to make an all-black team representing the United States of America. I’m disappointed by that.”
“Anybody that watched the league this year knows Kevin Love did not have a stellar season, was not the best player on his team, and did not necessarily deserve to be on this squad.”
Rose apologized over the weekend after receiving heavy backlash for his comments.
Colangelo discussed Love’s selection, saying he made the team due to his “international experience.”
“It’s because of his international experience,” Colangelo said. “Yes, it’s true. He hasn’t played much of anything these last few years. But, his versatility is valuable up front.”
“We are excited about the 12 players who have been selected to represent the United States in the Tokyo Olympics,” Colangelo said. “This was an unusually challenging selection process for many reasons, including the year postponement of the Olympics and the issues related to the timing of the NBA regular season and playoffs.”
Joe Morgan is the sports reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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