Houston Rockets guard James Harden is the eighth of 31 USA Basketball finalists to withdraw from Olympic team consideration before the 12-man roster is expected to be named June 27.
Harden, one of four to withdraw this week and the fifth withdrawal of the eight overall who had been named to the 2012 Olympic team, did not cite a reason.
Previously, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, John Wall, Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin withdrew for various reasons.
Most of the eight withdrawals have been due to injury. Nobody has cited the Zika virus.
“As a result of many difficult conversations with my family, the Rockets, and trusted advisors, I’ve notified Jerry Colangelo and Team USA that I will not be competing at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil,” Harden said in a statement Friday night. “This decision was a painstaking one that I did not take lightly. As a member of the 2012 London Olympic Gold Medal Team, and as Team Captain for the 2014 FIBA Gold Medal Team, it goes without saying that USA Basketball has provided me with some of the most meaningful personal and professional accomplishments of my life. I have been extremely blessed to wear the ‘red, white, and blue’ and to compete at the highest international level with the greatest players representing the greatest country in the world. I sincerely hope I’ll earn an opportunity to represent Team USA again in the future.”
Harden, 26, was a reserve on the 2012 Olympic team behind Kobe Bryant, averaging 9.1 minutes per game in London. He started all nine games at the 2014 FIBA World Cup and led the U.S. in scoring (14.2 points per game).
The U.S. is now without any guards with Olympic experience, unless one counts Andre Iguodala as a guard.
The U.S. finalist pool is down to six players with Olympic experience. The 2012 Olympic team brought back five players with Olympic experience.
Here are the remaining finalists:
Carmelo Anthony — 2004, 2008, 2012 Olympics
LeBron James — 2004, 2008, 2012 Olympics
Kevin Durant — 2012 Olympics
Andre Iguodala — 2012 Olympics
Kevin Love — 2012 Olympics
Dwight Howard — 2008 Olympics
DeMarcus Cousins — 2014 World Cup
DeMar DeRozan — 2014 World Cup
Andre Drummond — 2014 World Cup
Kenneth Faried — 2014 World Cup
Rudy Gay — 2014 World Cup, 2010 World Cup
Kyrie Irving — 2014 World Cup
Klay Thompson — 2014 World Cup