Los Angeles (AFP) – LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant… Several American NBA superstars declared themselves candidates on Monday for selection at the Paris Olympic Games in 2024, giving rise to the dream of a new “dream team”.
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Federated by “King” LeBron James, basketball superstars could pile into the American team, seeking a fifth consecutive Olympic title next year.
Enough to give rise to comparisons with the original “dream team”, from the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, led by Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.
“I’ve discussed this opportunity with those around me and if everything goes as planned I want to be there, it’s the only thing I’ve never done,” assured Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (35 years), four-time NBA champion.
The declarations of intent towards “Team USA” came one after the other on Monday, while most NBA teams held their media days at the same time across the country.
“I also see the opportunity for Team USA to reassert its international dominance,” Curry added.
The United States remains in fact in a failed campaign during the World Cup played in Asia (Japan, Philippines, Indonesia) between August and September, and finished in a sad 4th place, without its stars.
At the end of his career, LeBron James reaffirmed Monday at the age of 38 his interest in competition, and wanted to reassure about his future physical condition after a long NBA season.
“Given the quality of players we could have, I don’t think it would be too much of a physical debauchery,” he said, after leaving doubts about the rest of his career in the spring.
“I wouldn’t have to do too much. A little rebounding, passing, defense, blocking a few shots, you see…”
“We have been in communication”, simply replied LeBron James, questioned by ESPN about his role in the “recruitment” of players for Paris-2024.
The four-time NBA champion had already led Team USA to Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012, two editions of the Games where his team was compared to a “dream team”, with Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony in its ranks.
“Team from hell”
“I’m going to play in the Olympics next year,” said Kevin Durant, already present in 2012 then in 2016 and 2021. The Phoenix Suns winger could aim for a fourth title, a record for an American basketball player among men.
Kawhi Leonard, Devin Booker, Jaylen Brown, Donovan Mitchell and even Anthony Davis also showed up on Monday, enough to draw a frightening selection, starters and substitutes alike.
“I know that +Bron+ (LeBron James) is active in creating a great team, but we will first see how I feel physically,” said Paul George.
At the pivot position, the mystery remains as to the intentions of Joel Embiid, the MVP of the last regular season.
The star of the Philadelphia Sixers with three passports (Cameroon, France, United States) repeated on Monday his desire to play in the Olympics, and promised to choose between his three countries “in the coming days”, putting an end to a long suspense.
Embiid could thus strengthen France, defeated by the United States in the final in Tokyo in 2021, and particularly expected at home next year, after a disastrous World Cup (elimination in the first round).
“I will be present at the Olympics, and there is no other goal than gold,” has already declared for his part the new French prodigy Victor Wembanyama, who will begin to face the NBA stars at the end of the month with the San Antonio Spurs.
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