Bryant and James to lead U.S. national team

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By Gene Cherry

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - NBA All-Stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were among nine members of the gold-medal winning 2008 U.S. Olympic team named to the 2010-12 U.S. men's national team program Wednesday.

Players from the 27-member pool will be eligible to play for the U.S. team in the 2010 world championships and, assuming the Americans qualify, the 2012 London Olympic Games.

"We've got a great mix of players who are now experienced in the international game and some of the most promising and exciting players coming up though the USA Basketball program," Krzyzewski, the Duke University coach, said in an earlier statement.

Fellow 2008 Olympic gold medalists Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets, Carlos Boozer of the Utah Jazz, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors, Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat and Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz joined Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) and James (Cleveland Cavaliers) on the team.

"The reason they're back is because they are deserving of being back," said USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo.

"Their performance in Beijing was truly a team effort in every respect, he said, "and if you can keep something going like that, you do."

But Colangelo stressed the team announcement was just the first step in selecting the players that will carry the U.S. banner in the world championships and Olympics.

"Just as was the case in 2006-08, the composition of the USA national team will be fluid and by that I mean there could be additions to this group," he said.

"Injuries, family issues and free agency, all these things play a role," Colangelo said during the teleconference. "That is why you need a pool as strong as we have."

The world championships will be held in Turkey in late August and early September, with USA Basketball holding camps in July and August.

"They will all be invited to our mini-training camp in Las Vegas in July," Colangelo said. "It is only then we will determine who on the roster will be going forward."

(Editing by Clare Fallon and Alison Wildey)