LeBron James' gold medal victory at the 2012 Olympics was likely the last time the world's best player will take the court in a Team USA uniform, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports. The man who has won four of the last five NBA MVP trophies and has taken two straight championships is "doubtful" to play in the 2016 Olympics or any further events with the national team.
Earlier Tuesday, we had heard reports that the nine-time All-Star would not play in the 2014 World Championships. Now, it seems that desire to keep his summers free will extend to the next Olympic Games, which will take place in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. And by the time the 2020 games roll around, he'll be 35, two years older than any player on the team that took gold in London last year.
James has already starred on two gold medal teams: he averaged 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.8 assists on the team that won in Beijing, managing the impressive feat of being second on the team in each category. And last summer in London, he had 13.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and led the team with 5.6 assists.
But his times with the US team haven't always been great: he was relegated to a reserve role in 2004 with a Larry Brown-coached team that took the bronze in Athens, and was on another bronze team at the World Championships in 2006 in Japan. He didn't participate in the 2010 edition of the World Championships, and now it seems his time in red white and blue is done.
No NBA player has ever won three gold medals. James is joined by Carmelo Anthony and David Robinson as three-time medalists, although both were disappointed by a bronze medal appearance. Chris Paul, Deron Williams -- and depending on how much hoops he has left on him, Kobe Bryant -- could conceivably win their third gold in Rio.
Correction: the story originally stated James won gold at the 2010 - not 2012 - Olympics. It has been fixed.