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LeBron James will skip Olympics, focus on getting healthy and playing for Tune Squad

Lakers star LeBron James got a head start on promoting “Space Jam: A New Legacy” during his final postgame interview of the season, while also giving an update on his health and his status for the Olympics in Tokyo.

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Graphic via Zain Fahimullah / Silver Screen and Roll

The Lakers’ brutal, expedited and injury-riddled season came to a close on Thursday night, and after limping his way to the finish line, LeBron James says he’s not exactly ready to sign up for extra basketball this summer just yet. When asked if he would consider playing for USA Basketball in the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan this offseason, James said there is a different team he wants to suit up for this summer.

“Nah, I think I’m gonna play for the Tune Squad this summer instead of the Olympics,” James said.

And his response begs the question: Does LeBron HATE the United States? Coming up next on Undisputed, we’ll discuss how MJ would NEVER walk away from the game of basketball and his COUNTRY to rest and make a movie before coming back to play basketb... oh, wait, I’m being told he did pretty much exactly that. Never mind.

But rather than help the U.S. bring home the gold in Tokyo, James — who was announced as one of the finalists for the roster — said he’s going to pass. Instead, he made it clear that there is a different opponent he’s locked in on defeating on this summer in a statement that probably made Warner Bros. executives spontaneously combust in a supernova of brand synergy.

“I think that’s what my focus is on, is trying to beat the Monstars, or the Goon Squad, we call them now,” James said. “I didn’t have much success vs. the Suns, so I am gearing my attention to the Goon Squad here in July.”

Is James mixing up the Goon Squad — his opponents in “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” which comes out July 16 — with Jordan’s antagonists in the original “Space Jam” a mind-game to get in the heads of those CGI monsters? Or is this just more proof he’s not focused enough on the game of basketball? Coming up next on Undisputed, we’ll scream at each other about what it all means for three hours.

But in all seriousness, this season obviously took a toll on James physically. He missed the most games of his career with a high ankle sprain that derailed his MVP-caliber campaign, and afterwards, he admitted that the one silver lining of the Lakers’ early elimination is a chance to get his 36 year old body right for the 2021-22 season.

“It’s going to work wonders for me, obviously,” James said of the long rest. “During the season I don’t even talk about rest, I don’t even like to put my mind and frame into that, it makes me weak. But in the offseason, I get an opportunity to rest. We’ve got like three months to recalibrate, get my ankle back to 100% where it was before that Atlanta game, and that’s the most important thing for me.

“Everything else feels extremely well. My ankle was the only thing that was kind of bothering me... in the later stage of the season, and never fully got back to where it was before the injury,” James continued. “But I’m happy I was able to go out there and at least try to help our team win.”

Unfortunately, the Lakers weren’t able to actually win, though not for lack of effort on James’ part. It just wasn’t enough in this shortened season from hell that appeared to be doomed from the start. As a result, James will have plenty of time to rest and promote his upcoming film, and he made sure he got a head start on the latter task during his final postgame interview of the season.

“I’m gonna let the ankle rest for about a month, and then I’m gonna gear up with Lola, Taz, Granny, Bugs and the rest of the crew,” James said. “Hopefully I’ll see you all at the match.”

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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