The last time LeBron James suited up for Team USA in the Olympics was actually all the way back in 2012 where the team narrowly beat Spain for the gold medal. LeBron did not play in the 2016 Olympics due to needing rest following the grueling 2016 NBA Playoffs where he won the championship for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
LeBron James probably only has one more opportunity to win a gold medal with Team USA, and that’ll be in the upcoming 2020 Olympics in Tokyo (I can’t imagine LeBron will suit up for the 2024 Olympics in his 40s). Team USA recently had an embarrassing early exit in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, which has led to many NBA superstars being asked if they will play in the 2020 Olympics after a disappointing turnout from them this summer.
LeBron is, of course, an NBA superstar and said he wasn’t really sure if he will be on Team USA next summer.
LeBron James on if he will play for Team USA next summer: After a long pause, "I don't know. I would love to." He mentioned health being an important factor
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) September 27, 2019
LeBron James says he’s interested in playing in the #Tokyo2020 Olympics: “I would love to. I have to, I want to stay healthy as well. That’s most important. I was not happy about how we did this summer” #NBA pic.twitter.com/U46gmpcLUX
— Davide Chinellato (@dchinellato) September 27, 2019
There’s a few things that will factor into his decision. LeBron mentioned one of them, and that is his health. Say the Olympics were this summer in 2019 following LeBron being shut down at the end of the regular season due to his groin strain. LeBron would have almost assuredly skipped the Olympics so that he could rehab properly and be ready for the upcoming season.
The other is how far the Los Angeles Lakers go in the playoffs this upcoming season. If the Lakers reach the championship like we all hope, then LeBron will probably be exhausted given his age and the fact that it is his 17th season. I would be shocked if he joined Team USA, unless he would know that his role would be limited. On the other hand, if the Lakers are eliminated from the playoffs early or if they don’t get in at all, who knows if LeBron would even be in the mood to play in the Olympics.
Either way, because of the reasons I listed and LeBron’s hesitancy towards giving a clear answer, I’d bet on him not playing. Although it would be very sweet for LeBron to get his third gold medal.