Clippers star Chris Paul chooses family time over Olympics
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Chris Paul is passing up a shot at Olympic history to take a much-needed summer off.
The Los Angeles Clippers star said it was a difficult decision to pull his name from consideration for this summer's Olympics in Rio, but after spending a decade playing for USA Basketball he felt it was time for a breather.
''I've been playing every summer for the past 10-11 years,'' Paul said at the team's shootaround Wednesday morning as the Clippers prepared to play the Minnesota Timberwolves. ''I feel like I have a right to choose my family every now and then, too.''
Paul won gold in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012, when he made every start. Had he returned to Rio, he could have joined LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony as the only men's basketball players in Olympic history to win three gold medals.
He is very close with Anthony, James and Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade. The point guard said he consulted all three friends before making the decision. Anthony has indicated he wants to play in Rio, while James has yet to commit, saying as late as last week that he hasn't had many discussions about it.
Paul also consulted his family and management team before making the decision. He will turn 31 in May and said the prospects of having a summer free to spend time with his children and family weighed heavily.
''It was a tough decision,'' Paul said. ''It's a long story. My kids have never had an opportunity to experience the Olympics. Little Chris was so excited about it. But I talked to him and was like, `I actually get a chance to be home a little bit more.' "
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Tuesday that Paul's choice did not come as a surprise, with Paul indicating as early as January he was having reservations about making another run. The talent pool is also well-stocked at point guard, with Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, John Wall, Kyrie Irving and Mike Conley all among the pool of players for the Americans.
The final roster for the August games will be selected in June.