Stephen Curry opting out of 2016 Rio Olympics, others may follow
Unanimous NBA MVP Stephen Curry is healthy enough to help pulverize the Cleveland Cavaliers — amassing 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists while playing just half of Sunday's 110-77 blowout in Game 2 of the finals — but he's going to need some rest after going the distance in two straight seasons.
In order to recover from the sprained right MCL injury that kept him out of four games in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Curry has already informed USA Basketball he will not play for Team USA during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, according to Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson II.
The Golden State Warriors star also reportedly fears the Zika virus that has caused concern among a number of potential Olympians and led to the first American's withdrawal from the games last week.
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"My previous experiences with USA Basketball have been incredibly rewarding, educational and enjoyable, which made this an extremely difficult decision for me and my family," Curry said in a statement to the media on Monday, after news of his withdrawal was broken by Thompson. "However, due to several factors — including recent ankle and knee injuries — I believe this is the best decision for me at this stage of my career."
Curry did not make the roster for the 2012 Olympic Games, but he did play for the Team USA group that captured gold at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Since then, he's captured consecutive NBA MVPs and sits two games from an NBA title repeat, establishing himself as the best basketball player alive.
Given Golden State's run to the finals each of the past two seasons and the strain of chasing 73 wins this year, Curry has played 6,568 minutes over 193 games since the start of the 2014-15 season. He's also scheduled to cash in as a free agent in 2017 after playing since 2013 on a contract that became one of the league's best bargains, so it's difficult to blame the 28-year-old for wanting to enter 2016-17 rested.
"It's an incredible honor to represent your country and wear 'USA' on your chest, but my primary basketball-related objective this summer needs to focus on my body and getting ready for the 2016-17 NBA season," Curry said in his statement, per the Associated Press.
According to Thompson's report, Golden State's Andre Iguodala is also considering withdrawing from consideration for the 12-man Team USA roster over Zika virus concerns. He was a member of the 2012 team that won Olympic gold in London. Draymond Green will play if he makes the cut, the report said.
Meanwhile, fellow NBA star Pau Gasol expressed fears last week over Zika and may not play for Spain.
"It wouldn't surprise me to see some athletes deciding not to participate in the games to avoid putting their health and the health of their families at risk,'' the free-agent forward told the Associated Press on May 30. "I'm thinking about (whether or not to go). Just like every athlete, or any other person considering going to Rio, should be thinking about it."
Athletes were warned not to bring family to the 2016 Rio Olympics and advised to sleep in protective nets to avoid Zika, Thompson reported, so both Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook — two more stars of the 2016 NBA Playoffs and members of Team USA in 2012 — are among a growing list of players considering opting out of the 2016 Olympics.