USA Basketball announce star-studded London-bound Olympic squad -

USA Basketball announce star-studded London-bound Olympic squad

USA Basketball Olympics 2024 Announcement

USA basketball have announced a star-studded 2024 Men’s National Team roster, who will come to London for exhibitions this summer before competing at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The 12-man squad – led by LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry – will have two showcase fixtures at London’s O2 Arena against South Sudan on July 20 and Germany on July 22, while the USA women face Germany on July 23.

(The Great Britain Men and Women will also be in action around these games – with the men playing South Sudan and the women Germany).

Joining the trio will be Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers), Jrue Holiday (Boston Celtics), Kawhi Leonard (L.A. Clippers) and Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics).

With 14 NBA Championships between them and four league MVPs, the American men hope to capture their fifth straight, and 17th overall, Olympic gold medal.

USA Basketball Men’s National Team managing director Grant Hill selected the team and it was approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.

“As we began to reach out, there was just an overwhelming amount of support and desire to want to play on this team this summer and I think that speaks to what the Olympics mean and what it stands for and I think it speaks to the program and the success of the program,” Hill told a media roundtable on Wednesday.

“This allowed us to really think this through and pull from an incredible amount of guys and talent. It also made it hard, there were some hard decisions we had to make but ultimately we feel we made the right decision.”

Joel Embiid, along with Kawhi Leonard, will make his USA debut at the Olympics. There was much speculation around the big-man who was eligible for Cameroon and France before committing to the USA ahead of the upcoming Olympics. Last year’s NBA MVP adds great size to a USA team criticised for lack thereof at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

“We weren’t as good as we could be defensively and the FIBA physicality gave us some trouble,” confessed Hill.

A fourth-placed finish there was underwhelming but that roster was full of USA debutants and not comparable to the experience heading to Paris.

Nevertheless, the challengers – Canada, Serbia and champions Germany – will persist, as the top three nations in the 2023 FIBA World Cup now look to emulate USA’s success at the Olympics. All three nations have their own collections of NBA talent, albeit not as star-studded as this USA group, but what may be more important are their European-based players who are familiar with the FIBA game.

Although this USA team may look like a collection of the big names, Hill repeatedly echoed the same sentiment.

“We need a roster that is versatile enough to play any style, with the variety of opponents we will be facing and with who we chose, we feel we checked the boxes.

“Everyone [on the roster] is there for a reason and everyone brings something specific, or multiple things, for a FIBA stage.”

New York Knicks fans may have problems with the selection, as their star Jalen Brunson didn’t make the cut despite an off-the-charts regular season.

The dynamic Tyrese Maxey could have been another option, or the dazzling handles of Kyrie Irving.

But Hill wants us to admire the greatness of the 12 who did make it, rather than focus on those who didn’t and despite the tough decisions made throughout the process, it sounded like he had some fun doing it.

“We surprised Jrue Holiday at his house, with his family. He came through after his last [NBA regular season] game and bam there I was waiting with the jersey,” was one story Hill told.

But it was Embiid who surprised him: “He knew it was my birthday and he [Embiid] said: ‘I’m playing with you guys’. With all due respect to my wife, it was the best birthday present I’ve had in the last 20 years.”

Admire the greatness of this group we should, as it is likely to be the last time we see some of the best to ever do it on the Olympic stage with LeBron James now being 39, Stephen Curry, 36, and Kevin Durant, 35.

Through Anthony Edwards, 22, and Tyrese Haliburton, 24, however, we can see too what the future might look like.

The team officially qualified for the Paris Games as one of the top two nations from the FIBA Americas zone at the 2023 FIBA World Cup in September.

As part of Group C, Steve Kerr’s men will face Serbia, South Sudan and the winner of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Puerto Rico in the first round of the Olympic tournament.

The 5-on-5 Olympic basketball group phase will take place in Lille, France, before the tournament moves to Paris for knockout and medal rounds.

With a collection of great names, the pressure on this group to bring home gold will be great too. In the words of Hill: “All anyone cares about is winning a gold medal.”

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