LeBron James is considering a return to the Olympics.
James, a two-time gold medalist and three-time Olympian, is among the 44 players announced by USA Basketball on Monday as finalists for the team that will play this summer in the Tokyo Games. James played in 2004, 2008 and 2012, helping the U.S. win gold in his two most recent appearances.
“My name is in the hat, and it’s always predicated on one, my body, how my body is feeling at the end of the season. I hope to make a long playoff run,” James said. “And then where my mind is, and then where my family’s head is. So it’s a lot of factors, but my name is in the hat.”
The pool includes 19 players who have won a total of 31 gold medals in Olympic or world cup competition for the Americans, including nine players who captured the Olympic title for USA Basketball four years ago in Rio de Janeiro.
“I’ve always maintained that equity is important,” USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo told The Associated Press. “And you earn equity by participating. So we think they’ve earned the right to be named to the overall roster for USA Basketball. It’s pretty elite. It’s a tremendous pot, and the good news is they’ve all said they want to play.”
James has played in 68 games for the U.S. national team and has said several times over the past year or so that he is thinking about another Olympics after sitting out the Rio de Janeiro Games for a variety of reasons. Part of his interest in participating this summer is to have a chance to play for U.S. coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.
There will be no tryouts. USA Basketball will pare the list down to a 12-person Olympic team by early June, with the decisions to be made by a selection committee and to be based in part on player availability and health. Training camp will start in early July, potentially as soon as two weeks after the end of the NBA Finals. The Olympics start July 24.
USA Basketball officials, including Colangelo and Popovich, have met with players in a variety of ways over the past several weeks. Some talks have been directly with players, some with their agents, some with their NBA clubs, sometimes a combination — and, Colangelo noted, there were some instances when players reached out to express interest.
If a player is on the list, that means USA Basketball is convinced he wants to play.
“I feel very good about the response,” Colangelo said.
Also included in the pool: 15 of the 16 players from the United States who are scheduled to play in Sunday’s NBA All-