COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 28, 2021)– Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant wasn’t able to fulfill his wish of getting a third NBA title under his belt this season, but he does have something in front of him to achieve that might mean a whole lot to a lot of people.
Led by the three-time Olympian in Durant, USA Basketball unveiled its official 12-member U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team.
Selected for the U.S. Olympic Team 2020, which is seeking a fourth consecutive Olympic title, were: Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Durant, Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks), Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics).
The USA coaching staff is led by head coach Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs) with assistant coaches Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors), Lloyd Pierce and Jay Wright (Villanova University) and Jerry Colangelo serving as the USA Men’s National Team managing director.
“I’m happy for the selected players and looking forward to having the opportunity to work with this wonderful group when practice gets underway on July 6 in Las Vegas,” said Popovich. “I’m excited to represent the United States in our quest to earn a gold medal in Tokyo.”
The U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team was approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors and is pending final approval by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
“We are excited about the 12 players who have been selected to represent the United States in the Tokyo Olympics,” said Colangelo, who has served as managing director of the USA Men’s National Team since 2005. “This was an unusually challenging selection process for many reasons, including the year postponement of the Olympics and the issues related to the timing of the NBA regular season and playoffs.
“Our roster features players who are experienced in the international game, and this team has outstanding athleticism, versatility and balance. We also believe we have excellent leadership which is a necessity in order to develop the needed chemistry. We still have a lot of challenges in front of us, but I believe these players will become a team that all Americans will be proud of.”
The U.S. roster features the return of Olympic gold medalists Durant, Green and Love. Durant and Green were members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic gold medalist squad and Durant and Love were 2012 Olympic gold medalists. Durant and Love were also part of the 2010 USA team that went 9-0 and captured the FIBA World Cup title, and Middleton and Tatum were members of the 2019 USA World Cup Team.
“USA Basketball selects players to represent our country in international competition with the skills, character, experience, and desire to win,” said retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the USA Basketball Board of Directors.. “We build teams that are versatile and resilient in the short, intense competitions we face. We’re fortunate that this group of elite athletes has volunteered to represent us in Tokyo this summer.”
With his selection to the U.S. Olympic Team, Durant becomes just the fourth United States male basketball player selected to three or more Olympic teams. Carmelo Anthony (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016) has represented and medaled for a USA men’s record four Olympics, while LeBron James (2004, 2008, 2012) and David Robinson (1988, 1992, 1996) each have three Olympic medals in as many appearances.
Durant, who also collected MVP honors in leading the USA to gold at the 2010 FIBA World Cup, has finished as the U.S. team’s leading scorer the past two Olympics – the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Owning the top two U.S. Olympic scoring marks (156 points in 2012 and 155 points in 2016), Durant has 16 career Olympic games under his belt and with 311 total points in Olympic games (19.4 ppg.), ranks second all-time for points scored, trailing only Anthony (336) by 25 points.
Durant in USA all-time career Olympics statistics lists first for points averaged (19.4), tied for fourth for games played (16), fifth for rebounds (86), third for most field goals made (101), third for field goals attempted (191), first for 3-point field goals made (59), second for 3-point field goals attempted (108), fourth for 3-point shooting percentage (.546%), second for free throws made (50), fourth for free throws attempted (59), 11th for assists (49), eighth for blocked shots (9) and ninth for steals (21).
The average age of the 12 U.S. players at the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympics (Aug. 8, 2021) will be 28.2, the third oldest U.S. Men’s Olympic Team in history, behind the 1996 Atlanta Olympics squad (29.4) and the 1992 Barcelona Olympics Team (29.0).
Included among the named U.S. Olympians were 2021 All-NBA second team selection Lillard, and third team pick Beal. Additionally, Green and Holiday collected 2021 NBA All-Defensive first team honors, while Adebayo was a second team selection. Four USA players – Beal, LaVine, Lillard and Tatum — were named as 2021 NBA All-Stars.
After opening training camp on July 6, the USA Men’s National Team will tip off a five-game exhibition series against Nigeria on July 10 (5 p.m. PDT); followed by Australia on July 12 (5 p.m. PDT); Argentina on July 13 (3 p.m. PDT); Australia for a second time on July 16 (3 p.m. PDT); and Spain on July 18 (6 p.m. PDT). All of the exhibition games will be played at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay. Ticket information is available online at https://axs.com/USABasketball.
The U.S. men have collected a medal in all 18 Olympics in which they have competed, including 15 gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals. The American men own an impressive 138-5 (.965 winning percentage) all-time record in Olympic action. Since NBA players began representing the United States in 1992, the USA is 53-3 in seven Olympics, capturing six gold medals and one bronze medal. The USA currently enjoys a 25-game Olympic win streak that dates back to the bronze medal game of the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Tokyo Olympic Games 2020
The rescheduled Summer Olympic Games are being held July 23-Aug. 8 in Tokyo, Japan. Twelve nations will compete in the Olympic men’s basketball competition that will be held at the Saitama Super Arena. In addition to host Japan, nations qualified for the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball competition include Argentina, Australia, France, Iran, Nigeria, Spain and the United States.
The final four teams for the Tokyo Olympics will qualify through four FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. Twenty-four teams will compete in the four men’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, which will be held from June 29-July 4, in Victoria, Canada; Split, Croatia; Kaunas, Lithuania; and Belgrade, Serbia. The winner of each qualifying tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Men’s basketball preliminary play at the Olympics, which will see the 12 teams divided into three groups of four teams each, will be held July 25-Aug. 2. The quarterfinals, featuring teams placed first and second in each preliminary group and the two best third-placed teams, is scheduled for Aug. 3. Semifinal action will be played on Aug. 5. The gold and bronze medal games are scheduled for Aug. 7.
The draw for the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball competition was held Feb. 2, and the U.S. was drawn into Group A alongside 2019 FIBA World Cup bronze medalist France, 2017 Asia Cup runner-up Iran, and the to-be-determined winner of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Canada.
The American men will open Olympic preliminary round play on July 25, against France (8 a.m. EDT), then will play Iran on July 28 (12:40 a.m. EDT) and will close out preliminary play on July 31 (8:00 a.m. EDT) versus the winner of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Canada.
A draw will take place following the conclusion of the group phase to determine the pairings of the quarterfinals. The winners of the groups and the second-placed team with the best result from the Group Phase are placed in one pot (D), while the two remaining second-placed teams and two best third-placed teams in another pot (E).
Teams from the same group in the Group Phase cannot be drawn against each other in the quarterfinals. This stage of the competition is played in a knockout format, and the draw will produce an Olympic bracket for the road to the gold medal.
To be crowned Olympic champion in 2021, a team has to play six games – three in the group phase and three in the Final Phase (quarterfinals, semifinals, gold medal game), instead of eight games as in past Olympics.
Source: USA Basketball