PRESS BOX: LeBron collects superstar stones for Team USA 2024

Illustration by Killian Goodale-Porter

Nathaniel Semunegus, Contributing Writer

USA basketball will be in form again. LeBron James calls upon his NBA colleagues to structure a new superteam for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

James has already received confirmation from Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jayson Tatum and Draymond Green that they will be playing next summer as well. 

Separately, Devin Booker, De’Aaron Fox and Kyrie Irving are heavily considering joining, according to The Athletic.

For James, this may be his last chance to win a gold medal in his playing career as he will be turning 39 in December.

A lot of players do not want to miss this opportunity of a lifetime and have one more chance to play with arguably the greatest player in the history of basketball.

This could be a passing the torch moment for James as well, but I believe we could really only see that until after and if they win the gold medal.

I believe James still plans on being the main contributor on this squad despite his old age and will take the final shot if necessary.

Since the Olympics allowed professional athletes to compete in the event in 1992, the U.S. has absolutely dominated the basketball scene and has created some of the most iconic teams of all time with the Dream Team in ’92 and the Redeem Team in ’08. 

Starting from the 1992 Olympics, the U.S. has won seven of the last eight Olympics. However, with international teams becoming better and better, the U.S. has taken international basketball less seriously.

U.S. basketball is under fire from fans right now after a very disappointing performance in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, losing to Germany in the semi-finals of the tournament and losing the third place game to Canada. 

I think what really crossed the line for U.S. fans was allowing Dillon Brooks of all players to score 39 for Canada in the 3rd-place game which I feel is even more embarrassing than the loss itself.

We didn’t see the biggest superstars on the court in FIBA this year mostly due to fear of risking injury, needing more rest and simply just not caring about FIBA in general. 

There also wasn’t any kind of experience for these young guys on the FIBA squad, as this is the first time a lot of these players were playing internationally; their first time actually playing with each other and no true veterans as the oldest player on the team is Bobby Portis at 28 years old. 

Another spark that led to superstars coming back to play for the U.S. was most likely from U.S. track star Noah Lyles’ comments that then led to a debate about the NBA claiming the season winners are the world champions. 

“World Champions of what?” Lyles said to The Guardian in a press conference.

The funny thing is that the interviewer never mentioned basketball but Lyles specifically went after the NBA.

Durant, Booker, Damian Lillard and a number of other NBA players reacted negatively to Lyles’ comments on an Instagram post. 

He’s technically not wrong as the NBA is a competition where all of the league’s teams are located in North America so they really can’t claim to be world champions. 

At the same time, the NBA is no doubt the best basketball league in the world. The best players all over the world come to play over in the States as soon as they possibly can.

Though it does make sense why a lot of NBA fans were in heavy disagreement with what Lyles said. 

Winning an NBA title is kind of like becoming the “champion of champions” in the world. 

I believe it is way more valuable than any other basketball league title in the world and I think a large majority of players would agree.

Overall, these really are steps into the right direction as there has been concerns lately with the motivation of players who don’t seem to want to play and are just trying to cash in a check.

This will be very exciting times for U.S. basketball as they are bringing back America’s best. Expectations are very high as fans will want nothing more than a gold medal in Paris.

As this will most likely be James’ last Olympics, winning a gold medal would be an incredible way to end a legendary career filled with accolades since he came into the league in 2003.

I hope that this next Olympics will push players harder than ever and bring back that dominant spirit the U.S. once had in the previous years.

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