The last time LeBron James competed in the Olympics was in 2012, but he could be there again next year in Paris.Image: www.imago-images.de
For the second time in a row, the United States missed out on a medal at the FIBA World Cup. After this embarrassment, some stars are already planning to make amends at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
USA is the country of origin and record world champion in basketball. The question of which national team is the best in the world does not actually arise in the sport of orange skin. But at the FIBA World Cup, the proud nation remained without a medal for the second time in a row. The first time, and until recently, this happened between 1963 and 1970, when the United States finished fourth twice and fifth once.
An embarrassment to the country that has the best league in the world. So it’s no surprise that some NBA stars are already looking forward to next summer’s Olympics in Paris to straighten out the hierarchy. Above all, veteran LeBron James. However, the 39-year-old is not planning to be the only star traveling to France; Rather, according to media reports, he is trying to convince other top players to join the US national team.
He has very good chances. Unlike the world championships, the elite of American basketball is represented in the Olympic Games; 16 out of twenty gold medals in history have gone to North America. Since professionals were allowed to play professionally in 1992, the United States was only able to win in 2004. 31 years ago, a “dream team” around Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson impressed Barcelona, and now James wants to build a similar star team for his fourth — and perhaps last — Olympics. -. It seems that James has already managed to win over these players.
Although he may no longer be the best player on the team, “King James” will be the leader of the American team. He is one of the best basketball players in history and could crown his career with the national team with a third Olympic gold medal after 2008 and 2012. Even at 38 years old, James is a reliable scorer and still an excellent passer who makes every team better.
Due to injuries, the last three seasons have not gone as planned for Kevin Durant. But when healthy, the 34-year-old is not only an irresistible scorer, but also a solid defender. He’s been a fixture in the Olympics since 2012. Any other team would likely freeze against the James Durant duo.
Things get worse from a competition perspective if Stephen Curry is also on the court. The 35-year-old point guard is the best long-range shooter in history and can provide extra space even on an FIBA court, which is a bit smaller compared to the NBA, where you actually have to cover him from the halfway line. This will be the first Olympics for the two-time world champion.
Not surprisingly, LeBron James also took care of his teammate’s temporary commitment to the Los Angeles Lakers. Anthony Davis is an offensive and defensive force, especially because of his size, and he will be important for the American team with which he won the gold medal in London in 2012. Because in the center back position, which the 30-year-old Davis can play in addition to his traditional position as a power forward, there is a shortage In the absolute best players in the United States.
The Boston Celtics star is the youngest player James has called. The 25-year-old plays in the same position as James and Durant, but that shouldn’t be a problem given the sheer talent on the team and the flexibility of LeBron James among others. Jayson Tatum, who became the Olympic champion in Tokyo in 2021, is also good for the basket at any time and is therefore an ideal addition to the team.
Draymond Green is a close friend of both LeBron James and Stephen Curry, with whom he won four titles in Golden State. The US team is also coached by Warriors coach Steve Kerr. So it seems logical that the 33-year-old would also be part of the Olympic delegation. With his defensive qualities and great playmaking, Green also provides two useful assets to the team.
Who else will come?
With LeBron and company, six of the twelve available roster spots will be filled. But nothing is final until next spring, when USA Basketball sends out invitations. However, these players have a great chance of being there in Paris. According to The Athletic and ESPN, several other players have expressed interest in participating in the Olympics, regardless of James’ plans.
The Phoenix Suns goaltender will be an asset to Team USA at the 2024 Olympics, and not just because of his position. Devin Booker is one of the most talented players in the NBA, and he is almost 27 years old, which is the best age for an athlete. The Book will travel to the Olympic Games for the second time in a row.
The 33-year-old also made his Olympic Games debut in Tokyo and could be an excellent addition to the six players surrounding James in Paris, as goalkeepers are underrepresented there. Damian Lillard will likely have to settle for coming off the bench if Curry does indeed make his Olympic debut, but he probably won’t be the only star the USA doesn’t have a spot in the top five. Like Curry, Lillard is a great long-range shooter who also shines as a playmaker.
With Chris Paul, another point guard has thrown his hat in the ring. He is also considered a close friend of LeBron James, and from next season he will play with Curry and Green in Golden State. The 38-year-old won Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012.
The 31-year-old, who has been repeatedly criticized in recent years for spreading conspiracy theories, among other things, would also like to be part of the Olympic team. If Steve Kerr, who attended the World Cup with Miami coach Erik Spoelstra and Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, also took Kyrie Irving with him, he would likely leave Chris Paul or Damian Lillard at home. Like Curry, all three play point guard.
Will the coup succeed?
If all 10 players listed are willing to represent the United States in Paris next year, there will still be room for two more players. Among the candidates are Anthony Edwards and Mikal Bridges, who managed to shine in the World Cup despite the team’s poor result. But the preferred candidate is someone else:
The best centers in the NBA are all foreigners — Nikola Jokic of champion Denver, for example, is Serbian, and Joel Embiid is from Cameroon. But in the latter case, there is now hope that the 29-year-old’s best player from last season will be available for the United States. He has also been a citizen of the United States and France for about a year. Now the two states are competing for the Philadelphia star. If he chooses USA, the final gap in the new “Dream Team” will be filled.
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