|This may be James' last gold medal. (Getty Images)|
Asking a player if he's going to play in the next Olympics when he just got finished with the last one is standard protocol. It's not the best approach, since the player is exhausted from the tournament, happy with the experience, but nowhere near ready to give up another summer after a long NBA season.
But it's kind of what goes on.
And in the case of LeBron James, the best player in the 2012 Olympics, the answer is a resounding "Eeeeeeh."
James told reporters after the United States won gold on Sunday that he may not return for Rio in 2016.
LeBron James: "It's been a great run honestly. I don't know if I'm going to be part of the 2016 team."— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) August 12, 2012
James would be just 31 in 2016, still within range of his prime. Unlike some other players, James has never wavered on his commitment to Team USA before. And this time through, he was never a problem for Coach K or organizers. He was the leader everyone wanted him to be. But the toll on the body becomes greater. James would be entering his fourth Olympics, going for his third gold. With two, though, he's already in rarified air. It may just not be worth it.
But James doesn't know now. How he feels in 2016 will be entirely different from how he feels now. It's simply too soon to tell. For now, you can't mark James down either way, in or out.