LeBron James will not participate in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The baller said he needs a break from the court.
“I could use the rest,” he explained in a statement issued by his agent on Thursday.
James played in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
No doubt recently leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory at the 2016 NBA Finals has left the sportsman feeling weary.
The Nike-sponsored athlete is not the only sports star to bolt from Team USA.
Echoing a similar chorus, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard have cited the need for time off as a factor in not pursuing gold in when the Olympics launches Aug. 5-21 in Brazil’s coastal Rio de Janiero.
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But pro golfer Rory McIllroy had a different explanation for his swift departure on Thursday from Team Ireland: He admitted that he does not want to risk contracting the Zika virus, a disease that has ignited fears amid an outbreak in Brazil last year.
“After speaking with those closest to me, I’ve come to realize that my health, and my family’s health, comes before anything else,” McIllroy said. “Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take.”
The Zika virus is associated with transmission from mosquito bites, and while some adults suffer mild symptoms or fever, it can escalate to neurological problems, paralysis and blindness. Some females who have been infected have delivered babies with severe birth defects. Men can pass the virus on to women.
The disease has no cure.
Earlier this month, Brazil’s health minister downplayed the risk of infection as “minimal.”
Addressing concerns raised by international doctors and health observers to push back the Olympic Games, the World Health Organization said that such a measure had “no public health justification.”
According to NPR, the chances of contracting the Zika virus are 1 in 31,250.
American cyclist Tejay van Garderen was the first American to withdraw from consideration for the Rio Games when he announced in early June that he feared exposure could affect his pregnant wife.
In May, Australian golfer Marc Leishman expressed similar concerns when he explained to PGA Australia that he would not compete. A month earlier, fellow Aussie golfer Adam Scott said in an interview that he has pulled out of Olympics consideration because Zika virus fears are “part of my concern.”
American soccer star Hope Solo admitted in February that she, too, feared the virus but will “begrudgingly” participate in the Olympic Games. Her teammate Alex Morgan said the potential of getting infected “is kind of scary.”