NEW YORK: Having Gregg Popovich coach the US Olympic basketball team is a major consideration for LeBron James as he ponders seeking 2020 Tokyo gold, the NBA superstar said on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
“It factors a lot,” the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar said. “He’s just a great mastermind in the game of basketball.”
Popovich, coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, has taken over the US national team program following the retirement of Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski, who guided American collections of NBA talent to Olympic gold in 2008, 2012 and last year in Rio.
“Gregg has been such a great coach for so long, they have been winning for so long, they have no reason to not think about believing in Gregg Popovich,” James said after practice before the Cavaliers faced Popovich’s Spurs on Saturday night.
Not since the US squad won the first seven Olympic gold medals has a men’s basketball team captured four gold medals in a row.
James, who sparked the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history to bring the Cavaliers their first crown last June, will be 35 when the Olympics return to Japan.
After being kept to a reserve role in the 2004 Athens Olympic bronze medal disappointment, James sparked gold medal efforts in Beijing and London.