LeBron James was on the fence about playing for Team USA this whole season. Although James was virtually guaranteed a spot with the team if he decided in favor of playing, the mileage on his body from playing in six consecutive NBA Finals and 128 playoff games in those six years turned out to be too much. James declined his option to play for Team USA, as have many NBA stars, in order to rest after a grueling season both mentally and physically.
Kyrie Irving, on the other hand, accepted the invitation to play for Team USA and completed the 12-man roster. Despite having an injury prone career early-on, Irving is just 24 years old and still has a lot of basketball to look forward to. He hasn’t even reached his prime yet, and is probably eager to lead Team USA into the Rio Olympics after he was named the MVP of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
According to Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press, Irving tried hard to push LeBron to play for Team USA in the upcoming Olympics, but was unable to change his mind.
Kyrie Irving says he was "kind of nudging" LeBron on the championship flight home, hoping he'd play in Rio. "Hey, I tried," Irving said.
— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) June 27, 2016
David Yapkowitz ·
James needs the rest more than anyone else, and all that time gives him more time to spend with his family after a hectic 13th year in the NBA. Aside from that, the squad is loaded with forwards including DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, and Klay Thompson. Irving is likely a starter for Team USA with Kyle Lowry being the only other point guard on the team.