2016 Rio Olympics

2016 Rio Olympics: James Harden decides not to play for Team USA; LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony still questionable due to Zika concerns?

Houston Rockets guard James Harden will be joining the growing list of NBA stars who has decided not to play for the 2016 Olympics in Rio Janeiro, Brazil on August.

The former team captain of the 2014 FIBA Gold Medal Team released a statement about his decision to opt out from Team USA who will compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“As a result of many difficult conversations with my family, the Rockets, and trusted advisors, I’ve notified Jerry Colangelo and Team USA that I will not be competing at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil,” Harden said in a statement.

“This decision was a painstaking one that I did not take lightly. As a member of the 2012 London Olympic Gold Medal Team, and as Team Captain for the 2014 FIBA Gold Medal Team, it goes without saying that USA Basketball has provided me with some of the most meaningful personal and professional accomplishments of my life. I have been extremely blessed to wear the “red, white, and blue” and to compete at the highest international level with the greatest players representing the greatest country in the world. I sincerely hope I’ll earn an opportunity to represent Team USA again in the future.”

James Harden will be the 8th player who will be removed from the final 12-man USA basketball roster. His former backcourt partner Russell Westbrook also withdrew from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

However, six players were already removed from the list due to injury. These include LaMarcus Aldridge (hand, finger injuries), Stephen Curry (ankle, knee injuries), Anthony Davis (shoulder, knee injuries), Blake Griffin (quad injury), Chris Paul (hand injury), and John Wall (knee injury).

Pau Gasol first expressed his decision of not playing in the 2016 Rio Olympics due to Zika Virus concerns. Other NBA stars like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are also threatening to opt out but have not given any official confirmation.

On the other hand, Jimmy Butler and Draymond Green stated that they are very much willing to join Team USA once they are included in the final cut.

Photo courtesy: TonyTheTiger/Wikimedia Commons

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