The United States has named eight of the players who won basketball gold at the 2008 Olympics in a heavyweight preliminary squad of 20 to defend their crown in London this summer.
The roster, made up entirely of NBA players, is headlined by superstars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, who along with Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Deron Williams were part of the team that beat Spain in the 2008 final.
The rest of the squad includes LaMarcus Aldridge, Chauncey Billups, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook.
The list will need to be cut down to 12 in time for the Games, and the United States are due to play a number of warm-up games ahead of the Olympics, including a friendly against Great Britain in Manchester.
Anthony, James, Odom and Wade are veterans of the 2004 Olympics, in which the United States settled for bronze. Ten of the players in today’s squad were on the team that won gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
“I feel like we have an outstanding blend of talents from the 2008 Olympic and 2010 World Championship teams that won gold,” said USA manager director Jerry Colangelo.
“Reducing to the official roster limit of 12 players will be an even tougher decision, but we’ll evaluate how guys play during the 2011-12 NBA season and as we’ve done with our teams in the past, we’ll attempt to select the very best team we can.”
The United States will head to London as favourites for gold, having finished among the medals in all 16 Games in which they have competed, claiming 13 golds.
They have taken gold in every Games except 2004 since 1992’s ‘Dream Team’, the first time NBA players had been able to take part.