LeBron James, who could not avoid the elimination of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, on Thursday ruled out his participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with the United States team.
Following the Lakers’ loss to the Phoenix Suns (100-113), which has knocked the current champions out of the playoffs in the first round, James told the media that he will dedicate this summer to recovering his battered ankle. And he also jokingly pointed out that, instead of going to Tokyo in 2020 to compete with the American team, will use the summer months playing for the “Space Jam: A New Legacy” team., the sequel to “Space Jam” (1996) that will be released in July with James as the main character instead of Michael Jordan.
The forward added 29 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists in the sixth game of the series against the Phoenix Suns, who eliminated the Lakers (2-4) thanks to an overwhelming Devin Booker with 47 points and 11 rebounds. The Lakers star, who had never lost in a first round, congratulated the Phoenix on their “Excellent” performance in this tie. He also had words of praise for Booker, who he urged to continue to improve even more both on and off the track. Without detracting from the Suns, James lamented that the reigning NBA champions were unable to teach. “all the potential” they treasured because of the injuries.
James, who will turn 37 in December, said his priority this summer will be to rest and do whatever it takes to get back to full swing next season. He also insisted that it will be essential for the Lakers that Anthony Davis can return next season without the problems physical that have tormented him during the last months and that today they allowed him to play only five minutes.
The sinking of the Lakers
Although the Suns appeared throughout the series as a much stronger team, the collapse of the Lakers is still a huge surprise. Those in purple and gold were the great contenders for the ring at the beginning of the season and his favoritism was only threatened when the Brooklyn Nets announced the signing of James Harden to join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
After proclaiming themselves champions last year, the Lakers moved boldly in the market and were reinforced with highly contrasted players like Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder or Wesley Matthews.
But the season has been an ordeal for the Lakers. Anthony Davis and LeBron James were out for weeks due to injury, Marc Gasol was infected with coronavirus, Andre Drummond arrived as a stellar signing in March but did not meet expectations and, a regular season finale with many ups and downs condemned them to the repechage (‘play-in)’ after finishing seventh in the Western Conference. The Lakers hoped to get a run, recover their physical tone and sharpen their chemistry in the playoffs, but the Suns sent them home at the first exchange and in all fairness.