More than anyone else, LeBron James needs some time off. That’s why, even though he’s won two gold medals and has the chance to go for a third, he’s reportedly leaning towards passing on an invite to this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, according to The Vertical‘s Chris Mannix:
In the aftermath of a grueling NBA Finals, LeBron James is leaning toward not competing at the Olympics in Rio this summer, league sources told The Vertical.
While James has not informed USA Basketball of his decision, team officials are operating with the expectation that it is unlikely James will be part of the team.
For James, taking a breather this summer makes perfect sense. He’s played an insane amount of basketball over the last six years: six straight Finals appearances, including two that went seven games and one during which he shouldered an absolutely unfathomable workload due to the injury-related absences of star teammates. In the middle of that span, he played in the 2012 London Olympics, taking home the gold medal with Team USA. Outside of his two-week sabbatical in January of 2015, he has not missed significant time due to injury in his career.
James may only be 31, but he’s an old 31, having played 13 seasons and averaged at least 35.6 minutes per game in each of them. Add to that 199 playoff games — about two and a half additional seasons’ worth of games — in which he’s never averaged fewer than 38.2 minutes per game, too. That’s a lot of miles.
A third gold medal would be nice, but he’s already got two and has nothing left to prove on the international stage. He hasn’t had a real vacation since 2010. Go ahead and take some time off to get ready to defend this title, LeBron.