EXCLUSIVE: LeBron James, not playing basketball? The legend reveals the other Olympic sport he’d want to compete in

EXCLUSIVE: LeBron James, not playing basketball? The legend reveals the other Olympic sport he’d want to compete in

At 6-foot-9, LeBron James is quite literally a towering figure in the history of basketball, but he can envision the possibility of trying another sport.

James, 39, will go for his third Olympic gold medal when he and Team USA take the court this summer in Paris. He was on the 2008 and 2012 squads that won gold, but says if he could compete in a different sport in the Olympics, he knows exactly what it would be.

“I would — man, the four-by-one relay, man — track and field,” he told Craig Melvin in an exclusive interview for TODAY.

LeBron James at U.S. men's basketball training camp in Las Vegas ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.
LeBron James is on a quest to win his third gold medal in men’s basketball when he and Team USA suit up in Paris this summer.Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Noting that he’s a “team guy,” the Los Angeles Lakers star continued to say he even has an idea of what he would do in the event.

“Yeah, I want to be anchor, for sure, I want to finish it off the right way,” he said.

As a four-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, James has pretty much done everything that can be done at the highest level of the sport, so why does he feel the need to return to the Olympics?

“I think just timing,” he said. “Timing’s everything, and I think — you know, at this point in my career, I still, I have a lot to give, and Team USA has given a lot to me, so I feel like it’s an opportunity for me to give back.”

LeBron James ices his knees at U.S. men's basketball training camp in Las Vegas.
LeBron James uses ice after a practice session during Team USA’s training camp July 8 in Las Vegas.Ethan Miller / Getty Images

No matter what happens in Paris, James, who will become the oldest U.S. men’s basketball Olympian ever this summer, will remain synonymous with basketball long after he steps away from the game. He says he wants to be known for more than that, though.

“I hope it’s not just talking about basketball. You know, for me, what I do in our community and the people that I inspire all over the world is what I want my — a lot of my legacy to be talked about,” he said.

James knows how vital basketball has been to his own life, but he wants to be seen beyond that.

LeBron James during a Los Angeles Lakers game in 2023.
LeBron James may stay in Los Angeles with the Lakers for another few years, but he won’t be in the city when the Summer Olympics come to town in 2028.Alex Goodlett / Getty Images

“Basketball has definitely given me an opportunity to see parts of the world and do things that I’ve never, I would never even imagine or be able to do without it. But if my legacy is only talking about the game of basketball, then I failed in my mission, so — we’ll see, though,” he said.

The Summer Olympics head to Los Angeles in 2028. And while James recently signed a two-year extension to remain with the Lakers, don’t expect him to be in the City of Angels during the next Games.

“No, I won’t be there,” he said.

“I’m getting the hell out of that city when the Olympics come to Los Angeles,” he added, laughing. “All right, I’ll live there all year. I will not be in Los Angeles in ‘28. I’m getting out of there.”

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