On Friday afternoon, Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook officially announced he will not compete in this summer's Olympic Games. The All-NBA team member cited his decision was difficult, but made in the best interest of his family.
Russell Westbrook is pulling out of the 2016 Olympics in Rio :( pic.twitter.com/Gphdn4CGAR— Welcome To Loud City (@WTLC) June 10, 2016
Westbrook joins a star-studded lineup of U.S. Men's National talent to forgoe the Rio Olympics. Other All-Stars not appearing in Rio include: Chris Paul, LaMarcus Aldrige, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis and John Wall. Though Westbrook is out, teammates Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka are likely to play major roles for their respective national teams.
Durant announced earlier in the week he'll return this summer in search of a second gold medal; while Serge Ibaka has been named a finalist for Spain's respected international squad.
Westbrook's absence, along with Wall and Paul, presents an obvious downgrade in back-court talent for Team USA. On the regular season Westbrook averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 assists and 7.8 rebounds.
Although Westbrook didn't give a specific reason for skipping on Olympic play, Zika virus concerns could certainly be a factor. The World Health Organization has categorized the Zika outbreak as a "level two epidemic" and Brazil is considered the epicenter of the mosquito-borne illness.
While Westbrook takes a summer break from competitive basketball, Durant and Ibaka will likely vie for gold-laden glory beginning August 5.