Team USA's gold-medal victory over Spain in the men's basketball final earned LeBron James his second Olympic gold, and possibly his last.
According to USA Today reporter Jeff Zillgitt, James doesn't know what his Olympic future holds:
LeBron James: "It’s been a great run honestly. I don’t know if I’m going to be part of the 2016 team."— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) August 12, 2012
Four years is a long ways away, but this is a curious statement to make. James is on top of the basketball world right now, and it's hard to imagine he won't be four years from now as well. He will be 31 and in the midst of his basketball prime.
Stating uncertainty regarding his Olympic future just doesn't seem too shrewd a move. James is finally making inroads with fans to improve his questionable public persona, and his unselfish play in London has been a major part of that.
Of course, it does help he led the Miami Heat to an NBA title this year as well, but the Olympics are bigger than the NBA; representing his country, and doing it well, put LeBron back in good graces.
James may look at it as such: Team USA's run can't get any better, he's already won two gold medals, and he knows the younger crop of American basketball talent is more than capable.
Kobe Bryant isn't playing in 2016, and James may decide to follow suit. He doesn't have the age excuse that Bryant does, but "to each his own," right?
No matter what his reason is, I'm surprised LeBron didn't play this one closer to the vest. He could have enjoyed a relatively un-scrutinized period in his career. Instead, he amped up the power on the public's microscope once again.
Only time will tell if LeBron will, in fact, suit up in Rio de Janeiro. Until then, you can bet those 19 words will be dissected in every possible way.
Whether his reason is justifiable or not, you can bet this will bring the LeBron haters out in full force.