Bron will play for Team USA

Bron will play for Team USA

Postby JSM on Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:29 pm

ESPN: LeBron James will wear the red, white and blue this summer after all.

Cleveland's All-Star forward ended uncertainty about his status with the U.S. national team on Tuesday night by saying he will play in next month's FIBA America's Tournament, where the Americans will try to qualify for the 2008 Olympics.

"I'm going to play," James told The Associated Press. "I've had enough time off, and knowing my body more than anybody, I'm ready to play. I don't know how much I'm going to play or how extensively, but I'll be ready."

For several months, James had said he was "50-50" about playing for Team USA this summer. He and his girlfriend recently had their second son, and with the Cavaliers making it to the NBA Finals, James may have wanted some extra time off after playing more than 100 games since last October.

However, the 22-year-old, who played on the U.S. Olympic team at the 2004 Athens Games and for the U.S. squad that won a bronze medal at last summer's world championships, intends to honor his three-year commitment with USA Basketball.

"It was a long and tough year," James said. "But for me, if I make a commitment, I want to keep it. I'm a loyal guy. I committed to three years and I'm going to hold up my end of the bargain."

James' decision was welcomed news for U.S. Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski, who toasted James before a kickoff dinner preceding a three-day summit involving James' corporate business partners.

"I know people don't realize the commitment that these guys are making," the Duke University coach said. "Literally, with the playoffs, you play well over 100 games in a season, so they give up a lot and when they give up parts of three summers, I ultimately respect their commitment. It's a big-time thing and I need to run things in a way that's respectful of that commitment."

The U.S. team will have a three-day minicamp from July 20-22 in Las Vegas. Three weeks later, the Americans will resume practice in preparation for the 10-team tournament that begins on Aug. 22.

Two teams from that tournament will qualify for the Beijing Games.

So far, USA Basketball has commitments from Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Carlos Boozer, Chauncey Billups, Deron Williams, Mike Miller, Tayshaun Prince, Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire, Michael Redd, Greg Oden and Kevin Durant.

Miami's Dwyane Wade will not play in the summer tournaments following shoulder surgery, but the Heat star told Krzyzewski on Monday that he will report to the mini-camp and wants to help out during practices in August.

"Dwyane called me and said, 'Coach I'm one of the captains, and it means a lot,'" Krzyzewski said. "That's a heck of a thing."

James' waffling a few months back was met with a stern response from Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo, who said James could be jeopardizing his status as a core member of the team for Beijing.

Playing in China is vitally important to James' business interests as well. He has become one of that nation's most popular players and some of his endorsement sponsors -- Nike, Coca-Cola and Upper Deck to name a few -- would like to tap deeper into that overseas market.

James has been studying some Mandarin in preparation for the Olympics.

The U.S. team finished third in Japan last summer, another humbling result for the Americans who can no longer claim to be the world's best at basketball. James, though, is confident the new additions to the team will help restore U.S pride in a sport it once dominated.

"Kobe's back. We got J. Kidd, Chauncey," James said excitedly. "We've definitely got a group that knows how to win. We'll be ready to play."

And Krzyzewski is ready to coach them to a gold medal.

"Chauncey, Jason, Kobe, Amare, those are huge pluses for our team and also because their egos are at a place where it doesn't have to be about them," he said.

While watching the Cavaliers' first run to the NBA finals -- which ended with them being swept by San Antonio -- Krzyzewski was impressed with James' improvement throughout the playoffs.

"There are certain things that you can only learn from experiencing them," he said. "I thought the Detroit series for him was huge in that he took so much crap for the first two games.

"But instead of putting his head between his legs, he responded with four unbelievable games."
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Postby ladam24 on Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:40 pm

So he should, it's a guaranteed gold now that Kobe's playing.
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Postby Showtime is Magic on Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:55 pm

ladam24 wrote:So he should, it's a guaranteed gold now that Kobe's playing.
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Postby Kob3eight on Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:59 pm

Bryant will come out furiously stating he has an Italian citizenship and will be playing for Italy instead. :man9:
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Postby Radner on Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:42 pm

We don't need Bron.
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Postby Weezy on Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:54 pm

JKsnoots wrote:We don't need Bron.


While that may be true, seeing Kobe and Bron on the same team is going to be awesome. Kobe at the 2, Bron at the 3, what do you do? You can't double them both, Bron will drive on you, Kobe will kill you from outside or inside. It's going to be awesome to see these guys playing together and actualy competing to their full ability, not just in some all-star game.
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Postby Tragic on Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:05 am

ladam24 wrote:So he should, it's a guaranteed gold now that Kobe's playing.
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Postby The Maverick on Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:29 am

Showtime is Magic wrote:
ladam24 wrote:So he should, it's a guaranteed gold now that Kobe's playing.
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Postby nameant on Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:28 am

LeBronze to the rescue. :freak2:
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Postby Startrex on Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:46 am

JKsnoots wrote:We don't need Bron.

I think Coach K and Kobe would say the otherwise.
It will be good to have these young guys playing along side with the young and semi-old veterans in Kobe, Kidd, and others.

Actually, I am eager to see Kobe gets paired with Bron. We can set aside all the hatred for USA. Remember, those players dont hate one another. It's the fans like us creating indirect image of hatred among players.
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Postby JoPNBA on Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:49 am

If this team doesn't win Gold, after '08, it's time to blow this team up.
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Postby MarkMadsen on Wed Jun 27, 2007 11:22 am

sweet, if we lose...we can all blame it on LeBronze again!
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Postby Radner on Wed Jun 27, 2007 11:47 am

Lebron is coming off the bench if he is playing. No way in hell Coach K allows Lebron to replace Melo in the lineup.

Starting Five:

Howard
Amare
Melo
Kobe
Kidd

Bench:

Billups
Bron
Redd
Allen
B Miller
Paul
M Miller

I expect more shooters on this squad, so Michelle Miller makes it.
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