LeBron James in action at London 2012
LeBron James in action at London 2012 Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The 2020 Tokyo Olympics may be missing of some of biggest names in the NBA following a possible clash of dates between the two major competitions.

Some of the top stars from the US like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum may not feature at the 2020 Tokyo Games due to the near clash of competition dates.

The NBA has announced the 2021 play-offs — that end with the two top sides playing in a best-of-seven series — could last two months before finishing on July 22.

And with the postponed Olympics scheduled to begin on July 23, some of the NBA’s biggest names may be denied the chance to travel to Tokyo for the Games, where the men’s basketball competition is due to run from July 25 to August 7.

Earlier, last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach had praised the NBA after they had announced the season would start in December and feature 10 fewer games to accommodate the basketball competition at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Currently ranked first in the Fiba rankings, the US men’s national basketball team is the most successful team in international competition, winning medals in all 18 Olympic tournaments, including 15 golds so far. In the professional era, the team won the Olympic gold medal in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2016

The NBA Board of Governors announced the season would be established in two segments with the first running from December 22 to March 4 before the All-Star break, while the second half of the season is scheduled to be held from March 11 to May 16.

Each side will face the other teams within its conference three times before facing sides in the opposite conference home and away.

A play-in tournament featuring the teams with the seventh to 10th highest winning percentages in each conference is then scheduled to take place from May 18 to 21 before the play-offs are set to get underway on May 22 and run until July 22 — just a day before the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games.

The 2020 NBA season was heavily disrupted because of the coronavirus pandemic, that forced a shutdown from March to July after several players tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA Finals concluded on October 11 with the Los Angeles Lakers overcoming Miami Heat 4-2 to secure their 17th championship and tie Boston Celtics’ record.

LA Lakers’ star James was named Final MVP for the fourth time in his career.

NBA players have been a staple of Olympic basketball tournaments since the eligibility rules were changed to allow them to participate at the Games prior to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.