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LeBron James calls Simone Biles the GOAT—do you agree with his tribute to her greatness?

Winning 7 Olympic medals and over 30 world championships is enough to make anyone a fan, so it’s only natural that LeBron James, the three-time Olympic medalist, is one of Simone Biles’ biggest admirers. When asked what makes him admire her, he said, “She’s the best. It’s that simple. She’s the best.” Biles is more than just James’ favorite gymnast; she is also an inspiration to LeBron’s little girls. Now, ahead of another Olympic cycle, the whole basketball team is eager for more than just a medal. They want to watch Biles perform in Paris during the Olympic finals, no matter how expensive it gets.

As per the BET back in 2016, LeBron James was deeply impressed as he watched Simone Biles secure her second gold medal in the women’s gymnastics all-around final. Later that evening, he witnessed Simone Manuel make history as the first Black woman to win an individual Olympic gold medal in swimming by triumphing in the 100-meter freestyle. Fans around the globe were captivated by the #BlackGirlMagic displayed by Biles and Manuel at the Rio Olympics. Inspired by these historic achievements, LeBron took to Instagram the next day to share a heartfelt message, recognizing the lasting impact the two Simones have had on the Olympics.

This year, the basketball team has two goals: a podium finish and getting a picture with Simone Biles. Even LeBron James explained to ABC News on July 8th why Biles is such a favorite. “Simone is super dope. She’s an inspiration to my daughter and to all, not only Black girls, but also kids everywhere,” he said. “She’s amazing, and she’s everything.” If the schedule allows, especially on August 1st, which is the women’s all-around finals, the team wants to be able to watch it from the stands.

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Most of them missed their chances to watch her last time when the pandemic rules made it difficult for athletes to attend other events. However, this year they’re doubly excited. During the trials, Biles reached an estimated height of 12 feet during the first tumbling pass of her floor routine. Considering a basketball rim is 10 feet off the ground, this means at 4-foot-8, she could still dunk a ball. Bam Adebayo expressed exactly how inspiring it is, saying, “To be that good — well, excuse me, to be that great — and she still keeps breaking barriers,” adding, “To be able to see that just one time and hopefully get a picture with her, it’d mean a lot because she’s done a lot for not only the faces of us but for her sport as a whole.” We have our fingers crossed that the basketball team can make their second goal come true this year. 

USA’s basketball team is no small fry themselves

The USA men’s basketball team heading to the Paris Olympics boasts a star-studded lineup. The shortlist includes LeBron James and Anthony Davis from the LA Lakers, followed by Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors. Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker and Kevin Durant are also on the list. Additionally, there are Kawhi Leonard, Jason Tatum, Joel Embiid, Bam Adebayo, Anthony Edwards, Jrue Holiday, and Tyrese Haliburton on the team.

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However, Devin Booker, Anthony Edwards, and Jason Tatum did not make it onto the final team. The country’s selection process is fairly straightforward, involving direct qualification from the 2023 FIBA World Cup and an Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in July. The participating nations this year include two teams from America and Europe, and one each from Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Representing these regions are Spain, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Greece, and others. Basketball games will commence on July 28th, starting with the match between USA and Serbia. The winners will be announced on August 3rd, just two days after the women’s gymnastics finals.

This year, the USA aims to uphold its dominance in the sport, having secured a record 16 gold medals in the past. Notably, 8 of these medals were won in the last decade alone, with the only exceptions being bronze finishes in 1988 and 2004. The team boasts an impressive 0.959 winning percentage, with a record of 143 wins and 6 losses. Kevin Durant leads the scoring charts with 435 points. As the team strives to bring back gold, they also hope to capture that coveted picture with Simone Biles.