LeBron James‘ 2012 calendar year was arguably the most successful in the history of professional basketball — winning NBA regular season MVP, the NBA championship, NBA Finals MVP and an Olympic gold medal.
And while it is reasonable to say that James could win all three NBA accolades in the same season again, it is unlikely that he will decorate his neck with another Olympic gold medal in the future.
James, 28, will not participate in the 2013 World Championships and is highly unlikely to suit up for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics, a source close to James told Yahoo! Sports. The two-time defending NBA champion has won two Olympic gold medals with Team USA, along with a bronze medal in his first Olympic appearance in 2004.
“LeBron is going to be three years older during the next Olympics. He will have two older boys. He has a lot to endure with his family,” the source told Yahoo! Sports. “He played in three Olympics. Everyone that knows LeBron knows it’s always based on a decision at that moment. But if the moment was today, the answer would be no.”
USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo has not asked James to participate in the 2016 Olympics, but told reporters after Wednesday’s mini-camp practice that he would welcome him back if he has a change of heart.
“I don’t think he will ever be too old,” Colangelo said. “He can be 40 and still be able to play. Think of what he might be able to accomplish in terms of legacy with one more medal. We’ll cross that bridge later.”
At 28 years old, James is still in the prime of his basketball career, as witnessed during the Miami Heat’s 2013 championship run, but his career average of 39.7 minutes played per game will certainly take a toll on the superstar’s body at some point in the future. Between the high minutes average and extended length of seasons, rest comes few and far between for the four-time NBA MVP, and as he creeps up the age ladder, his off-time must be valued at a premium.
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