Why early exit for LeBron James, Lakers could be good news for Team USA in Paris

Also in this week’s Olympic notebook, Gabby Douglas comes back to mixed results, American canoers/kayakers qualify for Paris

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James gestures for a call in the second half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets Monday, April 29, 2024, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski, Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

With early playoff elimination, LeBron James now has more time to prepare for Olympics

The Los Angeles Lakers’ loss might end up being a big gain for the U.S. Men’s Olympic basketball team this summer.

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With the Lakers getting eliminated from the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets on Monday, LeBron James now has more time to rest up physically and mentally to compete for Team USA in Paris.

That is no small thing for the Americans, given James is 39 years old and has played the sixth-most games in NBA history.

Any additional time for him to gear up for the Olympics is a good one, especially with host nation France looking like a legitimate challenger to the Americans.

A deep run by the Lakers in the NBA playoffs might have altered any Olympic plans, but it looks like James should be a full-go in what will be the fourth time he has played in the Olympics.

The same goes for Lakers center Anthony Davis, who is also a member of the U.S. team and has time to rest up after battling a shoulder injury during the series against Denver.

Some good, some bad for Gabby Douglas in return to competition

Gabby Douglas, who in 2012 became the first Black woman to win the all-around gymnastics title at the London Olympics, took the first step in what she hopes will be an Olympic comeback last week when she competed at the American Classic.

It was the first competition in eight years for the 28-year-old Douglas.

Douglas struggled in the bars and the floor routine, but performed solidly on her floor routine and posted a score of 50.65 in the all-around.

Douglas hopes to round more into form before the U.S. Gymnastics Championships from May 30 to June 2, and the U.S. Olympic Trials in late June.

Two Americans qualify for Paris in canoe/kayak

One woman and one man qualified for the Paris Olympics last weekend in canoe/kayak events at the U.S. Olympic trials in Oklahoma City.

Evy Leibfarth, a 20-year-old from North Carolina, qualified in three events, kayak slalom, canoe slalom and kayak cross. She will become the first American to compete in three whitewater events at the Olympics.

It will be the second Olympics for Leibfarth, who was 12th in the kayak slalom and 18th in canoe slalom at the Tokyo Games.

Also qualifying was Casey Eichfeld, a 34-year-old from Pennsylvania who advanced to the Olympics in canoe slalom. He became the first American to qualify for four Olympics in slalom.

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

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