BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James said Wednesday his health and his family will determine whether he tries for a record third basketball Olympic gold medal next summer.
James took part in USA Basketball’s minicamp, satisfying chairman Jerry Colangelo’s mandate that anyone wanting to be considered for the 2016 roster show up this week in Las Vegas.
James suited up in a No. 27 jersey and worked out, though he won’t play in the Americans’ intrasquad exhibition Thursday because of a previous commitment back in Ohio.
The Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star could join Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul as the only three-time gold medalists, and he and Anthony would be the first American men to appear in four Olympics. James says he’s “not penciling it in, as of now, for next summer” and that his decision may not come until after next season.
“All my decisions go through my family. We’ll see how my family feels about it,” James said. “And then with my health, going another NBA campaign season, as far as my team back home in Cleveland, and I’ll go from there.”
He first played for the Americans in the 2004 Olympics, when he and Anthony were part of the disappointing bronze medalists following their rookie seasons. That duo and Paul, all close friends, are the only players in camp this week who competed in both 2008 and 2012, and could decide together whether they will try to make history.
“It’ll probably be a joint decision,” James said. “Pretty much everything that we do, for the most part, especially with Team USA, we kind of do together. We’ll see what happens.”
James also played with the Americans in the 2006 world basketball championship and the 2007 Olympic qualifying tournament. He said he enjoyed being back Wednesday and reconnecting with coaches and teammates.
“LeBron’s made an amazing commitment to our country’s basketball program, huge positive impact besides just winning,” U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
But all that basketball, plus his four straight trips to the NBA Finals, have put a heavy workload on the 30-year-old James. The Cavaliers will be favorites to get back to the finals next season, and James may feel he needs rest more than another medal.
For now, he’s done what is necessary to give himself the option if he wants it.
“I’m not penciling it in, as of now, for next summer. But this is the start of the process for all of us,” James said. “There’s 34 guys here. When you’re a part of Team USA, you represent your country, this is all a part of the process.
“I’ve given everything to the NBA. I’ve given it all to USAB as well. If I’m fortunate enough, if I’m healthy enough and my family is willing to allow me be a part of it, it’d be great. … We’ll see where I’m at after the season.”
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