LOS ANGELES, June 7, 2021 (AFP) – Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis will not play for the United States in the Olympic basketball tournament in Tokyo, local media reported Monday.
Prematurely eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in a losing streak to the Phoenix Suns, the pair are on vacation after a difficult season, during which they both suffered injuries, so they will not be part of the ‘dream team’ that will defend the team. The Olympic gold obtained at Rio 2016 was reported by The Athletic website, citing sources close to the players.
LeBron, 36, suffered a severe sprain in his right ankle that kept him out of court for a month. He recovered in time from the playoffs, which he played without being 100% fit.
Davis first experienced severe inflammation of his right Achilles tendon that had moved to his calf. Missed for two months, he also managed to make a comeback against Phoenix, but during the fourth game he injured his groin.
Davis returned to Game 6, but only lasted a few minutes due to the pain, and gave in to continue the match, in which his team ended up losing and was eliminated.
When the match ended, LeBron was asked if he could join Team USA this summer, and he joked, “No, I think I’ll play for the Tune Squad this summer instead of the Olympics,” referring to “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” a movie that combines Real and motion pictures, in which the protagonist is and which is supposed to premiere in US cinemas a week before the start of the Olympics (from July 23 to August 8).
A gold medalist in Beijing 2008 and London 2012, LeBron did not play in the Rio Games after his third NBA crown with Cleveland.
Davis, who was also an Olympic champion in 2012, also withdrew in 2016 because he had surgery on his left shoulder.
In March, the USA Basketball Association compiled a list of 57 shortlisted men for the 12 spots on the US national team.
According to The Athletic, Stephen Curry and Damien Lillard, whose seasons also ended with Golden State and Portland, could be among those selected.
The former could win her first Olympic gold, while the latter is said to be “very interested.”
nip / meh / cl / aam