The 2023 FIBA World Cup was a disappointing one for the United States Men’s Basketball National Team, as they lost three games en route to finishing out of the medals. But, if Lakers forward LeBron James has his way, that won’t be the case in Paris next Summer for the 2024 Olympics.
James is obviously one of the greatest, if not the singular greatest, NBA player of all time. But, he’s made an equally huge impact on the USA Basketball program as well.
Following a terrible bronze medal showing in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, that saw the team lose to Puerto Rico, USA Basketball set out to reassert itself as the powerhouse in the international game. LeBron James played on that team at just nineteen, alongside fellow rookies Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. But, outside of Allen Iverson and Tim Duncan, the team lacked the star power of having most of the league’s top players on the team.
That changed in 2008, when USA Basketball hired Duke legend Mike Kryzewski as coach. The stars flocked to play for Coach K, and the 2008 team, deemed the ‘Redeem Team’ was stacked. James and Anthony were joined by team captain Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Jason Kidd, Deron Williams and others as they beat a really, really good Spain team for the gold medal. A similar core of players repeated the feat in 2012, and the USA also won gold in 2016 and 2020 (2021, but the IOC still calls the games Tokyo 2020).
Recently, less and less veteran stars have been signing up to play for Team USA, and things are slowly backsliding towards the way they were for the 2004 Games and 2006 World Championships, where the USA took bronze at both. But, LeBron James wants to make sure that doesn’t happen, and is willing to recruit other marquee players to make sure the USA sends a great team to Paris next summer.
Here’s The Athletic with more.
LeBron James, a three-time Olympian, two-time gold medalist and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, has so strong an interest in one more Olympics that he is ready to commit for next summer and has also called multiple stars to essentially recruit them to join him with USAB in Paris, multiple league sources told The Athletic.
James has spoken to Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jayson Tatum and Draymond Green, and they are all prepared to commit as well. Separately, Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and Dallas’ Kyrie Irving also have serious interest in committing, league sources said.
That would be a ton of fun if they got all of the top guys to play. I’m sure the location of the Games being in Paris, where surely wives and girlfriends won’t mind spending three weeks, helps too.