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LeBron James hints that he may not return for Rio in 2016

Aug 12, 2012, 7:00 PM EDT

James of the U.S. goes in for a lay-up past Lithuania's Kleiza during their men's preliminary round Group A basketball match at the Basketball Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games Reuters

LeBron James just won his second gold medal. He was the best player in the Olympics, he is the best player in the world, and there can be no doubt of his place in history that is still growing. And as usual, most of the time when you get through with all the work that goes in and how exhausting it is, you want to get away from it. We see it with Olympic athletes all over, see it with professionals after their seasons. Things can be dramatically different in four years. But provided that no drastic changes occur to the structure of the Olympcis with regards to the 2016 team in Rio still allowing those over 23 without exceptions, it’s not a sure thing LeBron James will be back.

From USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt:

LeBron James: “It’s been a great run honestly. I don’t know if I’m going to be part of the 2016 team.”

via Twitter / JeffZillgitt: LeBron James: “It’s been ….

That’s not a no. Kobe Bryant said no. He’s done. He’s out. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski says he’s out. James is simply a maybe. James will be 31 then. There’s little reason to believe that his skill set will have eroded. But he may need the rest that goes with getting older. There’s so much wear and tear on the body, it’s hard to see him wanting to go through it. But he would be in a position to win a third, and that would put him in a class by himself.

There’s a long way to go, and it’s too soon to tell. But it should be noted that right off the bat, the Chosen One isn’t sold on being chosen for 2016.

  1. seanb20124 - Aug 12, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Bit presumptuous to assume he makes the squad.

    • bankai78 - Aug 12, 2012 at 8:41 PM

      Come on man…..did you think before you typed this???

    • joegalvan02 - Aug 12, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      i feel sorry for people that cant recognize and chuckle at sarcasm. internet, serious business.

  2. rajbais - Aug 12, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    I cannot blame him!!! Jerry ColAngelo put a (in Olympics standards) a mediocre roster!!!

    We almost lost to Lithuania and Spain for a reason!!!!

    • dirtymcgirty - Aug 12, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      It’s not Coangelo’s fault that Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin were injured. No way would the Gasol brothers and Ibaka gone off like that had we had some more muscle down low. Tyson Chandler and Anthony Davis were wastes of skin. Even Chris Bosh would have been an huge upgrade. Also, Derrick Rose and a healthy Dwyane Wade would have neutralized Navarro.

      Lithuania’s a niche offense who sucks against any other talented team. They just got lucky.

      • rajbais - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:22 PM

        “Tyson Chandler and Anthony Davis were wastes of skin.”

        You just made my point. Jerry Has to go because he added those two guys, Iguodala, and Harden after a bad finals performance.

        You have to be prepared. You can’t put your perimeter and wing players in a vulnerable position by having interior guys who have no knack for scoring. Foreigners (mainly Europeans because the South Americans are tougher) only play “team defense” for a reason because they care so much about scoring.

        Bosh voluntarily sat out. He had the abdominal strain. We know about the other guys’ health statuses.

        Demarcus Cousins, Al Jefferson, and Andrew Bynum could at least score at C/PF.

        I will say though that there are too many people who do not believe that positions are outdated. If they were not outdated we would not talk about LeBron James playing like a center as he scores with his back to the basket. However, you do need height. After Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls from 1996-1998 avid scorers with height and decent enough of team defense mattered.

    • cosanostra71 - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:22 PM

      Gold Medalists for a reason. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

    • therandomthingsithink - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:21 AM

      Had Rose, Wade and (especially) Howard been healthy… those games would not have even been close. A “mediocre” roster would not have been able to deal with those injuries.

  3. redstar504 - Aug 12, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    We almost lost for 2 reasons (and be almost loosing means we didn’t blow someone out of the water):

    1.) basketball is rapidly catching soccer in international popularity by 2016 it could very well surpass it with this comes greatly improved international play and competition there is a day coming very soon where teams may begin to equal the USA talent wise but even more importantly in depth

    2.) Team USA this season was besieged by injuries this team was missing Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh due to injury they had Lamar Odem, Bynum and Rondo decide not to play. USA basketball did the best they could with the pool of players they had available. That is a lot of talent left on the sidelines and a lot of bigs

  4. sportsjoker - Aug 12, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    A win is a win is a win

  5. charlutes - Aug 12, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    chosen one? relax. lebron has 1 ring.

  6. miamatt - Aug 12, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    As a Heat fan I hope he does skip it- get some rest and let somebody else risk getting injured, LBJ!

    • biasedhomer - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM

      Why does it matter to Heat fans? He’s a FA and I think he may take his talents elsewhere if he continues to only have 1 ring.

      • findthetruth90 - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:46 PM

        Why does it matter what you have to say? We all know Lebron will win more than one here. Stop being the annoying hater-guy that still hates and says well he only has one ring. It makes you look pathetic.

      • biasedhomer - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:11 AM

        I’m not saying he will only have one ring, but I also am not like you suggesting he will win more in Miami.

  7. sjtorpitt - Aug 12, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Rings don’t account for one’s greatness

    • liljere24 - Aug 12, 2012 at 8:20 PM

      Ummm….yeah its a huge part of it actually.

      • bobby62914 - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        We all know that Bill Wennington was a much better player than Wilt Chamberlain; compare the number of rings…

    • dls612 - Aug 12, 2012 at 8:33 PM

      Agreed! Look at eddy curry he has a ring but is he one of the greats? And Charles Barkley one of the greats without a ring among others.

    • findthetruth90 - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:51 PM

      No it just accounts to a greats legacy. Lebron wouldn’t be considered a top 10 all time if he never even got this first one. Look at Barkley. Top 10? Probably not. With a ring? Certainly.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:28 AM

        Rings are dependent on having sufficient talent surrounding the star player, and a bit of luck.

        Charles Barkley? Not top 10 all time, with or without a ring.

      • candidohernandez - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:24 AM

        Rings are won by teams not individual players. If that’s the case Horry is greater than Charles Barkley. Players can only take care of business on the court while GMs are the ones that build championship teams.

        A ring doesn’t make or break any player. It’s just icing on the cake of great players. I guess Ray Allen and Garnett were garbage a few years back.

  8. mvpolamalu - Aug 12, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    4 years is a long time.

  9. sjtorpitt - Aug 12, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Oh yea I forgot Michael Jordan wasn’t great before 27. Dumbass

  10. zidanevalor - Aug 12, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Not that Lebron needs my defending, but how many men’s basketball players play in 4 straight Olympics?

    • eventhorizon04 - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:18 PM

      Agreed.

      Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan only played in 2 Olympics, so it’s hard to criticize LeBron if he doesn’t feel like doing 4.

  11. lakerluver - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    Did someone actually suggest that he might not make the2016 team?! Dude, seriously?! If healthy, and if he wants to go, he will be on that team. At 31 he probably won’t be the NBA’s best player anymore but I’m willing to go out on a limb and predict he will still be one of the best.

    • findthetruth90 - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:49 PM

      Not necessarily, Kobe’s best years were after 30. Lebron seems to be on the same path. He’s the bees knees.

  12. 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 12, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    You know how you know you’re the greatest of all time? When the only other player in your class is the greatest of all time. That’s how.

    • w8stnotwantnot - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      ALL of the players contributed to the USA’s Olympic GOLD MEDAL in basketball, but there is no question that Lebron lifted the US in crunch time of several close contests — and it was his clutch performance in the gold-medal game (with 4 fouls — 1 foul away from fouling out) that he elevated his game against the second-best team in the world with a ferocious dunk, immediately followed by a 3-pointer,leading the US to victory. In that game, Team USA shot 48.6%. Lebron had the best field-goal percentage on the team, 8 of 13 ( 61.54 %) Durant shot 8 of 18 ( 44.44 %). Kobe shot 5 of 10, (50%). Lebron only had two free-throws, and made both. He had 7 rebounds, 4, assists,19 points, 2 steals and only 1 turnover in 30 minutes [OK, 29 mins., 48 secs.]. And remember, there’s only ONE player besides Lebron who was simultaneously the NBA League MVP, NBA Finals MVP, NBA Champion and Olympic gold medalist all in the same season. But of all the players who have EVER played in the Olympics, there is ONLY ONE who has posted a TRIPLE DOUBLE in Olympic competition. Yes, LEBRON JAMES! NOONE will EVER — in the history of mankind — accomplish all 5 of these achievements that Lebron accomplished THIS YEAR, in one year. Case closed. Long live “THE KING”!

  13. mfaulconumw - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    this is the dumbest article I have ever seen…first off Durant was the best player on the team, he shot over 50% from 3 in the Olympics and outshow LeBron in the gold medal game. Second off, your headline is very misleading, I was an internet blogger for 2 years before moving on to a major role with a prominent sports website and my editors would’ve never allowed a headline this misleading

    • Kurt Helin - Aug 13, 2012 at 4:14 AM

      If you thought Durant played a better all around Olympics than LeBron I question your basketball IQ.

      • skinsfanwill - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:42 AM

        No need to question his basketball IQ, we already know he has none. Clearly Lebron led he way. And clearly he has no clue about basketball. This is a stats guy to say the least. #lebrontripledubs

  14. asublimeday - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    Never has a player with one ring gotten so much press.

  15. rushbacker - Aug 13, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    At this point he’s certainly “done his duty,” or however you want to phrase it. There’s no legit reason left for anyone to criticize whether he does or doesn’t– although you know people will anyway. I say forget about it until then. Let him see where he’s at, where his career is and how healthy his body is. He’s probably the most freakish athlete in the game right now, in a league full of them. But the US is loaded with young talent as well, and should be just fine without Bron if he doesn’t want to play. And if he does want to play, there’s no reason the coaching staff couldn’t limit his minutes if necessary– particularly if his ego doesn’t insist on being a starter. Let a younger player get that experience, and play those minutes– and bring Bron off the bench as a closer. And if he’s ready to pass it to the next generation and let younger legs deal with the grind, I don’t see why anyone would begrudge them their chance, or fault James.

  16. illadelphiasphinest - Aug 13, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    The decision 2.0.

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