LeBron James among 44 US Olympic team finalists

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. (Photo/USA Today)
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Updated 10 February 2020

LeBron James among 44 US Olympic team finalists

  • James — a two-time gold medalist and three-time Olympian — is among 44 players announced by USA Basketball on Monda

LOS ANGELES: LeBron James is considering a return to the Olympics.

James — a two-time gold medalist and three-time Olympian — is among 44 players announced by USA Basketball on Monday as finalists for the team that will play in the Tokyo Games this summer. James played in 2004, 2008 and 2012, helping the US win gold in his most recent two appearances.

The pool includes 19 players who have won a total of 31 gold medals in either Olympic or World Cup competition for the Americans — including nine players who captured the Olympic title for USA Basketball in Rio de Janeiro four years ago.

“I’ve always maintained that equity is important,” USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said. “And you earn equity by participating. So, we think they’ve earned the right to be named to the overall roster for USA Basketball. It’s pretty elite. It’s a tremendous pot and the good news is they’ve all said they want to play.”

James has played in 68 games for the US national team and has said several times over the past year or so that he is thinking about another Olympics — after sitting out the Rio Games for a variety of reasons. Part of the interest in participating this summer is to have the chance to play for US coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.

“It’s a possibility,” James said in December.

There will be no tryouts. USA Basketball will pare the list down to a 12-person Olympic team by early June, those decisions to be made by a selection committee — and to be based in part on player availability and health. Training camp will start in early July, potentially as little as two weeks after the end of the NBA Finals. The Olympics start July 24.

USA Basketball officials, including Colangelo and Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, have met with players in a variety of ways over the past several weeks. 

Some talks have been directly with players, some with their agents, some with their NBA clubs, sometimes a combination thereof — and, Colangelo noted, there were some instances where players reached out directly to express interest.

If they’re on the list, that means USA Basketball is convinced they want to play.


UEFA warn clubs risk Champions League exclusion if seasons are not completed

UEFA and the European Club Association said that they were working on the possibility of playing on into July and August if need be. (AP/File)
Updated 04 April 2020

UEFA warn clubs risk Champions League exclusion if seasons are not completed

PARIS: UEFA and Europe’s top clubs have stated their determination that the current football season should be played to a conclusion and threatened that teams may be excluded from the next Champions League if their domestic competitions are ended prematurely.
In a joint letter released late on Thursday, UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA), and the European Leagues body representing nearly a thousand clubs in 29 countries, said that they were working on the possibility of playing on into July and August if need be.
The Champions League and Europa League — both of which are frozen in the last-16 stage — could be completed once the domestic seasons are finished, and “stopping competitions should really be the last resort after acknowledging that no calendar alternative would allow to conclude the season.”
The joint response came after the Belgian Pro League announced on Thursday that it recommended declaring the season over with the present table accepted as final.
It is the first European league to take such a measure, although more could follow.
That means Club Brugge would in theory go straight into the next Champions League group stage, but UEFA, the ECA and the European Leagues indicated that they may be barred from continental competition if the Belgian league decision is finalized.
“It is of paramount importance that even a disruptive event like this epidemic does not prevent our competitions from being decided on the field, in accordance with their rules and that all sporting titles are awarded on the basis of results,” the joint letter said.
“We are confident that football can restart in the months to come — with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities — and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified.
“Since participation in UEFA club competitions is determined by the sporting result achieved at the end of a full domestic competition, a premature termination would cast doubts about the fulfilment of such condition.”
The letter concluded: “UEFA reserves the right to assess the entitlement of clubs to be admitted to the 2020/21 UEFA club competitions.”
The Belgian Pro League said it had had “constructive” discussions with UEFA on Friday in which it “contested any approach which would force a league to continue in the current health crisis.”
It has called for a “varied approach” based on the specifics of individual leagues and countries.
UEFA has set up two working groups to devise a way for European football to get out of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.