LeBron James hasn’t represented Team USA in international play since the 2012 Olympics, and that won’t change this fall. With USA Basketball looking to bring home gold at the 2019 World Cup in China, James confirms to Joe Vardon of The Athletic that he won’t be participating in that event.
“I love everything about Pop (Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich), obviously, but this is not a good summer for me,” James said.
As Vardon notes, despite the fact that James’ summer will be longer than expected now that the Lakers have failed to qualify for the postseason, that won’t change the four-time MVP’s plans. The production schedule of Space Jam 2 is one key factor that will prevent LeBron from being available for this year’s World Cup, which takes place at the start of September.
Still, James hasn’t ruled out the possibility of rejoining Team USA for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Having previously won a pair of gold medals for USA Basketball in Beijing (2008) and London (2012), LeBron is leaving the door open for one more Olympic run.
“Yeah, that’s a possibility,” LeBron told Vardon. “It depends on how I feel. I love the Olympics.”
Here’s more from James, via Vardon:
- After appearing in eight straight NBA Finals and then missing the postseason this year, James isn’t pretending this summer will just be business as usual. He tells Vardon that he likes the fact that he’s feeling “uncomfortable” heading into this offseason: “I like being counted out. It motivates me.”
- Having been shut down for the remainder of the season, LeBron tells Vardon that he’d like to still be playing, but he’s willing to defer to the Lakers’ decision-makers and the people around him. “I’ve always listened to the ones I trust, no matter if I always agreed with them or not,” James said. “They’re looking out for my best interest, and that’s the way it is.”
- While LeBron will be busy with Space Jam 2 and other projects this summer, he’s also considering how a two-month head start to the offseason will impact his workout plans as he looks to stay in shape for 2019/20. “I’ve had basically the same offseason training regimen the last eight years,” he said. “I knew how long I wanted to rest for the season on a short timeline. I’m figuring out now how to get as much as I can out of two months of extra time for training. It requires a totally different strategy. We’re looking at it in an entirely new way.”