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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 21: Gold medalist Kevin Durant of the United States poses for a photo following the Men’s Gold medal game on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo : Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The cast is finally complete for the United States men’s basketball team at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo unveiled the 12-man squad on Wednesday with the roster one of the most loaded teams in recent history.
Leading the way for Team USA is the returning Kevin Durant who will be vying for his third consecutive gold medal at the Summer Olympics. Many were surprised with Durant’s commitment given that he’s just two years removed from an Achilles rupture.
Durant, Green and Love to provide veteran experience
Durant, who’s turning 33 in September, didn’t miss a beat in his return to the NBA this season, even playing heavy minutes in the playoff series against Milwaukee. He had a performance for the ages in the Game 7 loss to the Bucks, scoring 48 points in the overtime defeat.
Durant will look to make amends with another Olympic title for Team USA and add to the gold medals he won in London 2012 and Rio 2016. Carmelo Anthony is the only men’s basketball player with three gold medals, capturing titles with Team USA in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
Also providing veteran experience to this 2021 squad are Draymond Green and Kevin Love. Green was teammates with Durant on the 2016 Olympic team. They will team up for the first time since Durant left the Golden State Warriors for the Brooklyn Nets in 2019. Kevin Love, on the other hand, previously won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Durant, Green and Love’s knowledge and experience will be vital as nine of their teammates are first-time Olympians. They are proven NBA stars, though, with Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum among the new additions.
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Lillard dropped out of consideration for USA Basketball from the 2016 Rio Games and was among the final cuts for Team USA from the 2014 World Championship. Beal played for Team USA during his prep career and won gold medals at the 2009 U16 FIBA Americas and the 2010 U17 World Championship.
Tatum also has experience on the international stage, winning golds for Team USA in the 2014 U17 World Championship and 2015 U19 World Championship. He was part of Gregg Popovich’s squad in the 2019 World Championship that finished a disappointing seventh.
Also included in the lineup are Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. These three players are still active in the playoffs and all of them could play as late as July 22, the possible date for Game 7 of the 2021 NBA Finals. That’s just three days before Team USA’s first game against France. Colangelo said however that “all three have committed to traveling quickly to Japan by private plane.”
Completing Popovich’s lineup are Bam Adebayo, Zach Lavine and Jerami Grant who was a late replacement for James Harden who had to withdraw because of a hamstring injury. Team USA will assemble in Las Vegas on July 4 for its training camp. The Americans are set to play exhibition games against Spain, Australia, Nigeria and Argentina before departing for Tokyo.
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