Unlike most other USA Olympic teams, whose athletes must qualify at trial events, basketball's Olympians are chosen from a 30-player pool assembled by USA Basketball. Helmed by Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the Rio roster also includes Harrison Barnes (Warriors), Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Draymond Green (Warriors), DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers), Kyle Lowry (Raptors) and Klay Thompson (Warriors).
"We have great shooters and explosive scorers, we're big and athletic, and I think we'll really be able to defend," Coach K, as he's known, remarked at the rollout event.
But … there's no LeBron or Steph, nor other anticipated superstars, such as Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), James Harden (Houston Rockets) and Chris Paul (Clippers). They each had personal reasons for declining, mostly injuries, but also resting bodies worn down by an 82-game regular NBA season and in some cases long playoffs runs.
None publicly cited the mosquito-borne Zika virus, security or environmental concerns or some of the other problems currently plaguing Brazil. Other prospective USA Olympians — notably top-ranked pro golfers Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth — have turned down Rio, too, some unabashedly blaming Zika.