Report: LeBron James unlikely to come off bench for Team USA

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is 39 years old and the oldest player who will represent Team USA in the 2024 Olympics by a significant margin, but the expectation is that he will be part of the team’s starting five and not come off the bench.

“James coming off the bench, probably won’t happen,” Joe Vardon wrote. “I spoke with two USA Basketball sources and both cast serious doubt on the idea. … James, the sources said, will likely play point forward for the Americans as a starter, moving [Stephen] Curry off the ball.”

Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Anthony Edwards, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, Kawhi Leonard and Jayson Tatum make up Team USA’s roster along with James and Curry.

The team of incredibly talented NBA players will take the court together when it faces off against Team Canada on July 10 in a game that marks the beginning of the USA Basketball Showcase. Team USA will then take on Australia on July 15, Serbia on July 17, South Sudan on July 20 and Germany on July 22 to round out the USA Basketball Showcase schedule.

James has not played for Team USA since 2012, but he still boasts quite an impressive international resume. He has helped the United States win two gold medals in 2008 and 2012 and earn a bronze medal in 2004.

He has played in 24 total games for Team USA in the Olympics, and for his Olympic career, he has averaged 11.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals per contest.

Back in his most recent stint in the Olympics in 2012, he functioned as one of the team’s best all-around players. James averaged the third-most points per game on the team with 13.3 while shooting an unbelievably efficient 60.3 percent from the floor and also averaged the most assists (5.6) and third-most rebounds (5.6).

James is fresh off a season where he averaged 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.5 blocks per contest across 71 games played with the iconic Lakers franchise during the 2023-24 regular season. He also helped the Lakers finish the regular season with a solid 47-35 record.

NBA fans should expect James to lead Team USA to its fifth gold medal in a row this summer in what might be the last Olympics of his storied basketball career.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.