James had played in three Olympic games, and while his haters give him demerits for only winning a bronze medal in 2004, he did help the Americans claim the gold in both 2008 and 2012. His leadership early in his Team USA tenure may have been a concern, but he was the unquestioned leader during the 2012 games, and clearly, his leadership worked that year.
Davis was also on that 2012 Team USA roster. The squad burned through the competition easily and won all but two of its eight games in dominant fashion.
NBA players are prioritizing rest more than ever, which is one reason why USA Basketball should prioritize NBA stars in their 20s who are better able to deal with a shorter offseason without any big risk of injury. It is time for the younger generation of standouts, such as Jayson Tatum and Devin Booker, both of whom helped Team USA win the gold in the last Olympic games, to continue to hold the proverbial torch.
Perhaps it is also time for young stars such as Mikal Bridges, Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton, all of whom were in the FIBA World Cup, as well as Donovan Mitchell and De’Aaron Fox, neither of whom have been with Team USA yet, to lead the Americans to Olympic gold.
For James and Davis, the time has come for them to commit — to commit to sitting on the couch for a good part of next summer while training and preparing for the following NBA season without taxing their aging bodies too much.