Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Players Stick to Plan from from '08

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Players Stick to Plan from from '08

Article excerpt

BARCELONA, Spain --

Nobody remembers whose idea it was or when it was first mentioned. Several players assumed it was the plan.

Memories may fade after four years, but these friendships have not nor has the desire to spend another summer together.

Sometime during the 2008 Olympics, even before the U.S. men's basketball team won the gold medal, the core players decided they would be coming back in'12. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Deron Williams love playing together on the court and hanging out off it, and once one decided he was going back, that meant they all had to go back.

So they flew Thursday to London, along with fellow remaining '08 holdover Kobe Bryant, returning to the Olympics for a country that only eight years ago had fallen so far it couldn't find guys who wanted to play once, let alone multiple times.

"These are guys I talk to just about every day," Paul said, with Dwyane Wade also included in that group. "I knew Bron wanted to do it. D-Wade wanted to do it, but his injury set him back. I knew Melo was in, so we've got one of those things where regardless what anybody says, once one or two of us commit to something, we're all in."

That sounds good during the fun times, but things change in four years. Bryant is the only one of the five who even plays for the same NBA team he did in '08, with James leaving Cleveland for Miami, Paul and Anthony forcing their way to bigger markets, and Utah trading Williams in case he decided to do the same thing.

"In the locker room after the game when we won the gold medal, there was a euphoric feeling," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "So, sometimes, when you have that euphoric feeling, you say things at that moment that you're not necessarily thinking about four years later."

And true, their commitment wasn't always firm. Just two years later, all the players took a pass on playing in the world basketball championship. But they couldn't let go of the plan to wear the red, white and blue together again on the Olympic stage. …

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