LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are a step closer to a fourth Olympics, and Stephen Curry is in position for his first.
The NBA stars were among 30 players selected Monday as finalists for the U.S. basketball team that will attempt in Rio de Janeiro to win a third straight gold medal.
The final 12-player roster will be chosen this summer. If James and Anthony are on it they would become the first American men to play in four Olympics.
“The depth of talent that exists in the national team program is extraordinary. Repeating as gold medalists at the 2016 Olympics will not be easy, but we feel confident that we have 30 finalists who offer amazing basketball abilities and special versatility,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.
Kobe Bryant, who is retiring after this season, took himself out of the running for a third Olympics this weekend.
James has said he would base his decision about playing on his health and his family’s wishes, and may not decide until after his NBA season ends.
“I haven’t thought about it,” he said at Cleveland’s shootaround before its game against Golden State on Monday.
“The last time I thought about Team USA was Kobe taking his name out of the pool. That’s the last thing I kind of really thought about, so I’m not any inch closer to playing or not any inch closer to not playing. I haven’t really thought about it much.”
After playing in five straight NBA Finals, another lengthy season could impact his interest in wearing the red, white and blue again.
“The season has always kind of dictated it,” James said.
Ten players have suited for the Americans in the Olympics, but Curry isn’t among them. He wasn’t chosen for the team in 2012, shortly before the NBA’s MVP broke out as one of the game’s biggest superstars.
He won gold medals in the 2010 world basketball championship and 2014 Basketball World Cup and will be a strong candidate to make the Olympic team now even in a crowded point guard field that includes Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving — the MVP of the World Cup in Spain two years ago — John Wall and Mike Conley.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@guardian_sport
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