LeBron James isn’t on the USA men’s basketball team at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but that doesn’t mean his time on the international stage is done.
The Cleveland Cavaliers forward and reigning NBA Finals MVP confirmed to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he hasn’t retired from USA Basketball.
“Every time I watch ’em, I wish I was out there … I did not retire from Team USA, I just did not play this summer,” James said. “So I left the door open.”
James played for Team USA in 2004 after his first NBA season. That team won bronze, but he returned in 2008 and 2012 to lead the U.S. back to Olympic gold in Beijing and London, respectively.
James has played in six straight NBA Finals and the 2015-16 campaign was an emotional roller-coaster for the Cavs, so it wasn’t too surprising that he decided not to play in Rio. He probably was exhausted.
That said, James is as competitive as they come, and judging by his recent comments, it seems a return in 2020 when the Summer Olympics come to Tokyo is possible.
As for the 2016 squad, its next game is Wednesday night against Argentina in the quarterfinals.
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images