USA to head to Rio without James
(Reuters) - LeBron James was a glaring absentee from the United States Olympic lineup as USA Basketball unveiled its squad for the Rio Games on Monday.
U.S. media reported last week that James, who led the Cavaliers to victory over the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game NBA Finals series, had asked USA Basketball to remove his name from Olympic consideration.
The three-times NBA champion and four-times league Most Valuable Player won gold medals with Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics but after six consecutive trips to the NBA Finals James decided he needed rest.
He joined a long list to players to turn down invitations to Rio.
Among the other American NBA players who opted out of consideration are twice reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, John Wall and LaMarcus Aldridge.
While a handful of athletes from other sports have pulled out of the Aug. 5-21 Olympics due to health fears over the Zika virus in Brazil, no NBA player has yet to cite the mosquito-borne virus for his decision.
Zika can cause crippling birth defects and, in adults, has been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre.
"I think I can speak for the entire coaching staff and say we're extremely excited about the team we will field for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro," said Jerry Colangelo, managing director of the USA men's national team.
"I love our depth, which is another indication of the depth of talent our national team program is blessed with. We've got a great mix of talent, scorers, past gold medal winners and outstanding youth." Continued...