Thanks to the global pandemic that took over the world in 2020, the Olympic Games in Tokyo will now be taking place this summer as opposed to last year. The USA Men’s Basketball Team was recently announced and one notable omission was that of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.
James has been a part of USA Basketball basically since he stepped foot in the NBA, being a part of the 2004 Olympic Team that took a bronze medal before winning back-to-back gold medals in 2008 and 2012. James chose to not participate in the 2016 Olympics and with his decision to not take part again this year, Team USA Director Jerry Colangelo isn’t expecting him to don the red, white and blue again.
In an interview with ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill and Zubin, Colangelo praised James for his contribution to Team USA basketball, before saying that he believes his time is done:
“You know, Father Time takes its toll,” Colangelo said of the 36-year-old star. “… 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.”
At this stage of his career, no one could fault James for choosing to skip the Olympic games. Having already participated in three Olympics, LeBron has already done his part in helping to restore the United States to the top of international basketball.
More importantly, at 36 years of age and with 18 NBA seasons under his belt, James needs to be able to use the offseason to rest and heal before gearing up for the next year. James has been able to remain amongst the NBA’s elite for longer than any player in history and if that is to continue, staying away from the Olympics is likely the best move.
As Colangelo said, Father Time will always take its toll, even on a physical specimen such as LeBron James. But he has done his job for USA Basketball and now it is time for the next generation to carry the torch.
Johnson believes James has two good years left
Most players at this stage of their careers would be a shell of the player they used to be, but James has somehow managed to remain one of the NBA’s best. How much longer that will continue is anyone’s guess, but Lakers legend Magic Johnson let his thoughts be known.
Johnson believes James still has two more high-level years left to be one of the best players in the entire league and that the Lakers need to do everything to take advantage of the short window they have left.
Even if that is the case, James still has the size and skillset to be an effective player in the league should he choose to keep playing, even if he may not be elite. But with what James has done throughout his NBA career so far, no one will doubt his ability to remain at a high level even longer than what Magic sees possible.
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