LeBron James On 2020 Olympics Games: 'My Name Is In The Hat'
LeBron James said it's spectacular that five of the 44 finalists for the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team are in the Lakers' locker room.
"It’s amazing," James said after the Lakers' 125-100 win over Phoenix on Monday. "We’re very well represented with the Lake Show representing the red, white and blue. So it’s a pretty cool thing."
James, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Kyle Kuzma and JaVale McGee were named finalists for the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Monday.
James, a three-time Olympian, said whether he'll play remains up in the air. The 35-year-old won bronze in 2004 and gold in both 2008 and 2012. He didn't participate in the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro in 2016.
"My name is in the hat and it’s always predicated on: one; my body, how my body is feeling at the end of the season -- I hope to make a long playoff run," James said. "And then where my mind is and then where my family’s head is. So, it’s a lot of factors but my name is in the hat."
Davis, who was a member of the 2012 Olympic Team, also said he's unsure whether he'll participate.
"I don’t know; I’m getting old," the 26-year-old Davis said with a laugh. "I don’t know."
Davis was 18 when he played in the Olympics in 2012. He said that experience was formative and helped influence the player he is today.
"Being around those guys taught me a lot, showed me a lot, and I think I wouldn’t be the player I am today if it wasn’t for those guys," Davis said. "Kob' [Bryant], LeBron, 'Melo [Anthony], Tyson [Chandler], [Chris Paul], Russ [Westbrook], James [Harden], it was all my guys. I was their guy, their rookie. And it just helped me become a professional early in my career, showing me how to work, how to work hard, and I kind of carried that through my career."
The majority of the finalists won't make the Olympic Team. A selection committee will pare down the roster from 44 to 12 by early June.
Dwight Howard, who is in his 16th season, said he was in disbelief when he found out he was a finalist. He said he'd absolutely play if he makes the team.
"For my agent to call me and say, 'Hey, would you like to be on the Olympic Team again?' At first, I thought it was a dream," Howard said. "After I guess over 10 years, 2008, to be asked to play in the Olympics again. There was no way I was going to say no for that opportunity. To have a chance to win a gold medal, to travel the world, to play basketball -- there was no way I was going to turn that down."
Howard, 34, said after he won a gold medal in 2008, he wouldn't let it out of his sight.
"I carried around my gold medal for almost four, five years after we won it the first time," Howard said. "Everywhere I went. On the road, even during the season I took it with me and I’d just look at it everyday like, man, this is amazing that I got a gold medal. I’d love to have another one."
As for McGee, he said he's really hoping to make the team.
"It’s a stamp on your legacy," McGee said. "On your personal passport, saying you’re an Olympian, saying you’re an NBA champion. Just things of that nature are very important on your resume, I guess."
Plus, the 32-year-old is competing with his mother, Pamela McGee, who won a gold medal with the women's national basketball team at the 1984 Olympic Games.
"She’s won a WNBA championship, I’ve won an NBA championship," McGee said. "So I’ll be able to catch her if I win a gold medal."
McGee said that traditional centers who play defense are valued in the Olympics, pointing to Chandler and DeAndre Jordan. He said he's ready and willing to do anything to help the team.
"I think younger in my career, I didn’t really understand the importance of the Olympic invite, and I didn’t understand the role you have to play when you go to situations like that," McGee said. "Because I’ve been invited before, but it was more when I was out there, I was more 'I want to do this, I want to do that.' When it really doesn’t matter if you score. It doesn’t matter if you do this or that. They just want you to play a role. As you mature, you learn more."
Davis said that he hopes all five Lakers will make the team and compete together for a gold medal.
A reporter then pointed out he wouldn't be able to call himself old if that's the case. After all, Kuzma is only 24 years old.
"Maybe, if all five us go," Davis said with a laugh.