LeBron James won't join Team USA in China for 2019 FIBA World Cup; not ruling out playing in 2020 Olympics
James will be spend his upcoming summer getting healthy and shooting "Space Jam 2"
LeBron James will not be adding to his international resume this summer.
According to a report from Joe Vardon of The Athletic, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar will not be joining Team USA for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. He hasn't participated in a USA Basketball event since the 2012 Olympics in London -- he skipped the 2016 Olympics in Rio following the Cleveland Cavaliers' Finals win over the Golden State Warriors. Although James won't be playing in the World Cup, he will be playing some basketball for the big screen. From Vardon:
"Production begins this summer on 'Space Jam 2,' which stars LeBron and is set for a July 2021 release... With the Lakers' season being so truncated — at least by LeBron's standards; the organization has missed the postseason for six years running — there was speculation last week that he might fill some of his time by joining Team USA for the FIBA World Cup in China. LeBron never intended to play this summer, even though the team will be coached by Gregg Popovich, a favorite of his. The 'Space Jam 2' production schedule was based on the knowledge that, regardless of when the Lakers' season ended, LeBron would not play for Team USA."
"I love everything about [head coach Gregg Popovich], obviously, but this is not a good summer for me," James said of the upcoming offseason. James, who played a career-low 55 games during the 2018-19 season after suffering a serious groin injury against the Warriors on Christmas Day, can use the offseason to rest and get his body healthy, as well as to film the "Space Jam"
Though he won't be wearing the red-white-and-blue this summer, that doesn't necessarily mean that his international career is over, as James didn't rule out potentially playing for Popovich and Team USA in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"Yeah, that's a possibility," James said. "It depends on how I feel. I love the Olympics."
If James did play in 2020, it would mark his fourth Olympic appearance. He suited up for the United States in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games and helped to win a bronze medal (2004) and two gold medals (2008, 2012) for the country. However, there is no telling how James will feel next summer at the age of 35 with 17 professional seasons under his belt, so there is a chance that we have already seen the last of Olympic LeBron.
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