It appears as though Chris Paul is quite content with having only two gold medals to his name. It was announced today that he has withdrawn from consideration for this summer's Olympics in Brazil. On the surface, this news is surprising given the high level of play that he has sustained this season, but he explained himself in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins:
"I feel my body telling myself that I could use the time... Just a few days ago, Little Chris asked me, 'Daddy, will you play in the Olympics again?' Part of me wanted to say yes because he's never been a part of it, but I told him, 'I want to spend more time with you.'"
Few athletes have soaked up the Olympic experience like Paul has in games past; in 2012, he could often be found in the cheering sections of Michael Phelps or Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor when not on the court. It's clear that he'll miss the experience, especially the prospect of sharing it with his son, but his reasons are understandable and admirable.
Though his minutes aren't up this year, he's shouldered an increased load with Blake Griffin out and keeping the Clippers afloat has undoubtedly taken a lot out of him. After all, it is his 11th season, and at 30 years old, he's no spring chicken. We'll all miss seeing him suit up for Team USA, but it's absolutely his prerogative to put his health, let alone his family, first.
His veteran leadership will be difficult to replace, but he leaves Team USA in a position to introduce some fresh point guard talent into the mix. Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook have to be locks for the team, but there is likely space for one, if not two more to be added to the squad by Jerry Colangelo and Coach K. Damian Lillard, John Wall, Kyle Lowry, and Kyrie Irving have all emerged as Team USA-worthy players and it'll be interesting to see who ends up emerging as CP's rightful heir.
While Paul's successor may be in question, this is not: Team USA will enter this summer as massive favorites and they will be a ton of fun to watch chase gold for the third consecutive Olympic Games.