The Los Angeles Lakers have four players on their roster with a chance to represent the United States of America in the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, as LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma were all named among the 57 finalists for the 12-man roster on Thursday.
Per USA Basketball, here is the full pool of names that will be selected from by national team head coach Gregg Popovich and managing director Jerry Colangelo for the men’s basketball team to represent the U.S. in Tokyo:
Added to the 2021 USA National Team roster, from which the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team will be selected, were
-Jarrett Allen (Cleveland Cavaliers); Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets); Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons); Blake Griffin (Brooklyn Nets); Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks); DeAndre Jordan (Brooklyn Nets); Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls); Julius Randle (New York Knicks); Duncan Robinson (Miami Heat); Mitchell Robinson (New York Knicks); Fred VanVleet (Toronto Raptors); John Wall (Houston Rockets); Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans); Christian Wood (Houston Rockets); and Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks).
Forty-two of the athletes who were named as finalists on Feb. 10, 2020, also were confirmed for the 2021 list, including: Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat); LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs); Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns); Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers); Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics); Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat); Mike Conley (Utah Jazz); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers); DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio Spurs); Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets); Paul George (LA Clippers); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors); James Harden (Brooklyn Nets); Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Lakers); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets); Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers); Gordon Hayward (Charlotte Hornets); Dwight Howard (Philadelphia 76ers); Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans); Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets); LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers); Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors); JaVale McGee (Cleveland Cavaliers); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz); Victor Oladipo (Houston Rockets); Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns); Mason Plumlee (Detroit Pistons); Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics); Russell Westbrook (Washington Wizards); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
James’ NBA accolades go almost without saying at this point, but his international resume is also stellar. He’s won two Olympic gold medals and was previously named the 2012 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year. And it’s not just at the Olympics where he’s repped his country: According to USA Basketball, James “has played on 11 USA Basketball teams, appeared in 68 games and compiled 979 points (14.4 ppg.), 281 (4.1 rpg.) rebounds, 238 assists (3.5 apg.) and 111 steals (1.6 spg.).”
Davis isn’t quite as decorated as his co-star, but he’s won gold medals at both the 2014 FIBA World Cup and 2012 Olympic Games (where he first teamed with James and developed a bond with Kobe Bryant).
Kuzma was a finalist for the 2019 World Cup team but withdrew after suffering an ankle injury that ultimately sidelined him for all of the Lakers’ 2019 training camp and first four games of the regular season. Popovich and Colangelo both said at the time that they felt Kuzma would have helped that team avoid the seventh-place finish they ultimately ended up with, and that was all before he’s made a multitude of improvements to his game this season.
Harrell previously represented the U.S. at both the 2013 FIBA U19 World Cup and 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, helping the red, white and blue take home gold medals in both.
With the Lakers’ set to try and defend their title, a long playoff run may rule any of these players out from participating in the Olympics, and if they wanted to sit out following a season that came on the heels of the shortest turnaround in NBA history, it would be hard to blame them, especially given that James and Davis have both dealt with lingering injuries this year. And with all due respect to Kuzma and Harrell, the decision may not be in their hands with only 12 spots up for grabs. Given the state of the world, who knows if we even actually have an Olympics.
We’ll see what happens as the games draw closer this summer, but for now, this is at the very least a nice honor, and some recognition that the Lakers have more good players than just James and Davis.