From New York, Koen van der Velden highlights developments in American sports. Today: LeBron James wants Stephen Curry by his side for games.
LeBron James also saw how a battered USA Basketball team endured at the FIBA World Cup in Manila, where the three-time favorite lost and finished fourth last week. Things should be different at the Paris Olympics, the NBA president has decided. He single-handedly set out to put together a new dream team that would polish up a damaged reputation in the coming year.
The Americans lost to Lithuania in the group stage, lost in the semifinals to future champion Germany and suffered a painful kick from Canada in the bronze medal game. For the second time in a row, the team returned home empty-handed after the World Cup. Small consolation: Fourth place was an improvement over 2019, when the team finished seventh.
About the author
Koen van der Velden describes De Volkskrant About sports in the United States. Lives in New York.
James is 38 years old according to The athlete Recruitment started some time ago. Browsing through his address book, he came across Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jayson Tatum, and Draymond Green, among others. NBA superstars told James they were interested in Paris, where the Americans could become Olympic champions for the fifth time in a row.
The United States has been considerably less successful at the World Cup, winning the title only twice in the last six editions. The best Americans usually miss out on the tournament, and in Manila it became clear once again that selection B is no longer enough with increased competition from other countries. “The sport has become more global,” national coach Steve Kerr said after the elimination. “It's not 1991 anymore.”
It has rained cancellations this summer in the run-up to the World Cup. So the US national team was made up of young, up-and-coming talent, but none of the players had international experience. The defense proved fragile and lack of height was punished mercilessly under the boards. The opponents lacked any form of awe.
It will be different in Paris, if the big-name players are actually present. Normally they wouldn't want to interrupt their summer vacation to attend the World Cup, but the Games, as the past has proven, are a different story.
It started in 1992, when professional players were allowed for the first time and America sent the original Dream Team of Michael Jordan, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird to Barcelona. The beaten opponents then asked for the Americans' signature.
A team featuring James and the 36-year-old Curry could approach the star power of that time. The two rivals have played each other multiple times in the NBA Finals and are the two most popular and influential players in the league. “King James” helped shape American basketball with his versatility, and thanks to the agile scorer Curry, long-distance shooting became commonplace. They both won four NBA championships.
When James was asked last year who he would like to play with next, he didn't have to think long. “Curry, without a doubt,” he said on his talk show. the shop. “I love everything about him.”
We've never worked together before
The respect is mutual, but except for some demonstrations, there has been no cooperation between James and Carrie, who were born in the same hospital in Akron, Ohio. The aging stars want to use the Paris Games for their joint 'last dance'.
James, who currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, knows what it means to lose with the US national team. When he was 19, he played on the team that lost in the semifinals to Argentina in the 2004 Games. James got his revenge four years later in Beijing with Kobe Bryant at his side, among others. In 2012 he did it again in London.
Curry never competed in the Games, but he became a two-time world champion. His second title in 2014 was the last for the United States. The Golden State Warriors captain previously indicated he was open to making his Olympic debut in Paris, in part due to the presence of national coach Kerr, who is also his coach with the Warriors.
With two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns) alongside James and Curry, the Americans will have the heart of an unbeatable team on paper. Durant has previously won the Olympic gold medal three times, most recently at the Tokyo Olympics. The fact that its advantage over the rest of the world was diminishing became clear when America lost to France in the group stage, and later had its hands full in the final.
Paris also has a difficult task ahead of her next summer, because almost every competitor now has several NBA players. However, the team with the biggest American weapons will be the favorite. On social media, the potential American superhero squad has been compared to the comic book heroes The Avengers, Avengers who must protect Earth in times of dire need. A new dream team featuring James, Curry, Durant and others must restore order to the basketball world next year.
Tv fanatic. Freelance thinker. Social media enthusiast. Total bacon lover. Communicator.