LeBron could match Jordan by taking gold
LeBron James finally captured an NBA title in his ninth league season. Now the Miami Heat superstar playmaker wants to put his name among the sport’s legends by winning a second Olympic gold medal.
“King James” will lead the United States squad of NBA stars into the London Olympics as a favourite to defend the title he helped the Americans claim in 2008 at Beijing.
“We’ve got younger, we are more athletic and a lot of great guys are part of this team,” James said.
“It’s a great place where we are and we look forward to being the best.”
James, the 2004 NBA Rookie of the Year, left the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 to join the Heat in search of an NBA crown.
Miami lost to Dallas in last year’s final but bounced back and defeated Oklahoma City in last month’s NBA Finals.
James could become the first NBA player since 1992 Chicago and “Dream Team” icon Michael Jordan to win an NBA title and Olympic gold in the same year while also being voted the NBA Finals and NBA regular season Most Valuable Player.
“I’m trying to lead these guys in the right direction,” James said.
“I’m going to try to help these guys win the gold medal.”
James has tried to play down his role in favour of the team concept vital to the US chances for Olympic gold, but his evolution as a clutch playmaker from a player hesitant to take crucial shots has made him a much-improved NBA threat.
“LeBron is a better player right now (than in 2008),” said US coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“He was real good then but he is a great player right now.”
James withstood the grind of playing 66 regular-season games in a compressed four-month season, then battled through two months of play-off games for the title that had eluded him.