NBA’s James, Anthony, Bryant Will Defend Olympic Gold for U.S.

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony will lead a 12-man USA Basketball team seeking to repeat as Olympics champions at the London Games, beginning July 27.

The National Basketball Association trio will play alongside fellow gold medal teammates Chris Paul and Deron Williams, as well as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala and James Harden.

“We feel like we’re definitely a great team. We have all the pieces that we need,” Anthony said last night after the roster was announced. “We’ve got to put it together, but we feel like we’re the best team out there.”

Griffin, Iguodala and Harden secured their roster positions yesterday as injuries forced four players to withdraw from consideration.

“The final selections keep us in concert with our game plan to have athleticism, versatility and strong depth on our roster,” Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman, said in a statement. “I think our final roster epitomizes all of that.”

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh and teammate Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic skipped the trials because of injuries. Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Clippers, withdrew his name.

Deeper Than 2008

“We projected we would have difficulty getting down to a roster of 12, regardless of the number of injuries that have taken place, because they are such an outstanding group of people and athletes,” Colangelo said.

At the 2008 Olympics, the U.S. pulled ahead in the final two minutes of the game to defeat Spain 118-107.

“When I think about ‘08, we were really good then. But like me, LeBron and D-Will, all of us talk about, you’ve got to think about how much better all of us are now than we were in ’08,” Paul said. “One through 12, no question we’re deeper than we were in ’08.”

Among those not making the team were Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay and Anthony Davis, this year’s No. 1 National Basketball Association draft pick, who sprained his ankle.

The team is coached by Duke University Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski and returns five members of the 2008 gold medal winners: Anthony, Bryant, James, Paul and Williams. Chandler, Durant, Iguodala, Love and Westbrook played on the 2010 World Championship winning team.

The team will train in Las Vegas through July 12.

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