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National basketball in the United States is going through a moment of dramatic change. After the U.S. men’s basketball team lost to Germany in the 2023 Basketball World Cup semifinals, LeBron James has speculated that he could return to Team USA for the 2024 Paris Olympics. It is worth mentioning that the North American program participating in the FIBA World Series does not have much interest in the World Cup, but it is still shocking that it has not even entered the finals in the past two sessions.
LeBron James himself has opened the door to the possibility of returning to the United States to bid farewell to his FIBA basketball career. The Los Angeles Lakers star increased the “hype” among his followers with an eye emoji in a publication on X (formerly Twitter), which asked about the possibility of seeing him at the Olympics.
LeBron James has participated in the Basketball World Cup and the Olympics as a member of the US men’s basketball team, and won two Olympic gold medals and a bronze medal as well as third place in the FIBA Championship. However, the last time he donned the Stars and Stripes jersey was at the 2012 London Olympics, when the Redemption team lost to Spain in the final and ended the competition with an unbeaten record.
2006 was the only time the “King” participated in the FIBA World Cup. After failing at the 2004 Athens Olympics (the only time the U.S. team failed to finish on the podium since participating in the Olympics with the NBA), the U.S. finished third. The game was held in Japan, and the only loss for James and his team occurred in the semifinals against Greece, which meant that they were going all out for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Amid rumors about King’s return to the national team, there are rumors that he will leave the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2024-2025 season. The forward has a contract for next season, but the decision for next season will be up to the player, who can choose another course if he finds the program offered by the Californian unattractive.
For LeBron, nothing is written. If he feels the Lakers haven’t done enough to win the championship this year, he will not exercise his option in the 2024-25 season and declare himself a free agent earlier than expected. If that happens, there are three teams that would be perfect candidates to hire him, with Cleveland, Golden State and Miami excited about his signing.