Hoop dreams: LeBron James considers FOURTH Olympics ahead of 2020 Tokyo Games
James is the biggest name on a list packed with the great and the good of the NBA, with James' Lakers teammate Anthony Davis, Houston Rockets star James Harden and Golden State Warriors playmaker Stephen Curry also included in the selection pool.
The job of trimming that list down to the official 12-man Olympic squad falls to coach Gregg Popovich and managing director Jerry Coangelo, who head up a selection panel that will finalize the names who will represent Team USA in Tokyo.Also on rt.com 'Heartbroken and devastated': LeBron James opens up on Instagram following death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant
The panel includes nine members of the 2016 team that won the gold medal in Rio, and seven from the gold-medal-winning squad from London 2012.
If selected, James will join Carmelo Anthony as the only man to represent Team USA in four Olympic Games. This year's Games could have seen James compete in his fifth Games, but he did not compete in 2016.
"This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team in Tokyo," said Colangelo.
"Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we'll continue to monitor all of the athletes.
"Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process."Also on rt.com ‘They wanted it more than us’: Australia hands USA basketball team 1st defeat in 13 years
James has not yet officially stated his intention to play in Tokyo, but his inclusion in the 44-man pool suggests USA Basketball certainly hopes he will do so.
The nation has been the most dominant country in Olympic basketball, having picked up medals in all 18 Olympic tournaments in which they have competed, with 15 golds and two bronze medals.
The U.S. men have been the dominant force in Olympic men's basketball collecting a medal in all 18 Olympics in which they have competed, including 15 gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals.
Since the NBA allowed its players to represent their country in the Olympics, Team USA has competed in seven Olympic tournaments, winning six golds and one bronze, with an overall win-loss record of 53-3 since 1992.Also on rt.com 'I’m not at the end of my story': NBA star LeBron James plans to play until he 'can't walk no more'