After Team USA finished the 2023 FIBA World Cup in fourth place, LeBron James has already set in motion a plan to turn things around.
The Lakers forward, as reported by Shams Charania of ‘The Athletic’, would be willing to be part of the U.S. team that goes to the Paris Olympics next summer.
The Olympic event is attractive for NBA players, unlike the World Championships, and LeBron seems determined to fight for gold once again.
And not only that, he is reportedly already trying to convince other big stars like Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Stephen Curry, who has never participated in an Olympics, to join him.
Other big names such as Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, De’Aaron Fox and Kyrie Irving would also love to represent their country at next summer’s Games.
Since the United States sent the Dream Team to the Barcelona Games in 1992, it has only failed to win one Olympic gold, the Athens 2004 gold won by Argentina.
LeBron played and won bronze. He would later taste Olympic glory in Beijing 2008 and London 2012, defeating Spain on both occasions.
LeBron last played for the national team 11 years ago
That final 11 years ago was the last time the Lakers forward played for the U.S. national team.
He will be 39 years old when the Olympics come around next summer, but no one doubts whether he’ll perform. If ‘King’ James is in, how can some of the other stars not be?
Grant Hill, executive director of USA Basketball and a member of the team that won gold at the Atlanta Games in 1996, said in the middle of the World Cup that a few of the players who were part of the team would also be at the Paris Games.
“They’re young, they’re good and they’re hungry. When LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade went to the 2006 World Cup they were not the players they became later. We are building something,” he said.
However, the willingness of the star players to come back may change that.
Last chance for greatness
The U.S. team at the World Cup only featured a few players who had played in an All-Star Game and none had ever been part of an All-NBA Team.
The comparison with their ‘seniors’, many of whom will end up in the Hall of Fame, was startling. The C (or D or E) team that USA Basketball brought wasn’t up to standards, but that could all change at the Olympics.
With LeBron 39 when the Olympics start in Paris, Curry 36 and Durant 35, it would be the last chance to see some of the greatest players of all time at the Olympics.
The Americans would make the Parisian event a celebration of the stars. If it is with gold around their necks, so much the better.