Two-time Olympic champions LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul were among the final 57 NBA players selected for the Tokyo Olympic men’s basketball team by US Basketball on Thursday, March 11, 2021.
The list included 15 more players to a group of 42 finalists already selected in February 2020. These men are looking forward to bringing a fourth consecutive gold medal and 16th overall this August in Japan.
However, before the Olympics begin, a final 12-man Olympic team will still be announced.
James, who won 2020 NBA crown with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Paul, who plies his trade with the Phoenix Suns, were among the Olympic team that won Gold for the US Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
READ ALSO: D’Tigers becomes first team to qualify for 2021 FIBA Afrobasketball tourney
James, was also part of the US team that won Bronze in the 2004 Olympics. He could match Carmelo Anthony as the only four-time US men’s basketball Olympians.
Durant was part of the winning squad for the US in London and in 2016 at Rio, Brazil and is part of an NBA star studded players from the Brooklyn Nets currently on the prospective lineup. He is joined by three-time NBA scoring champion James Harden, playmaking guard Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, Joe Harris and centre DeAndre Jordan.
Zion Williamson who plays for the New Orleans Pelicans plus Brooklyn’s Griffin and Jordan were among the 15 debutants to the finalist list.
Other new persons included; Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen, Houston’s John Wall, Eric Gordon and Christian Wood, Detroit’s Jerami Grant, Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday, New York’s Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, Miami’s Duncan Robinson, Chicago’s Zach LaVine, Fred VanVleet of Toronto and Atlanta’s Trae Young.
USA Basketball’s national team managing director Jerry Colangelo said:
“With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it’s important we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible. These additions we’re announcing will help ensure we’re doing that.”
Covid-19 has caused more harm to this Olympic preparations than just postponing the Tokyo Olympics. The NBA ended last season around October 2020, going almost to months without a game before the 2020-21 campaign started off.
This year’s NBA season is going to round up on the eve of the Olympic opening ceremony if they go ahead with the full seven games. This situation has forced USA Basketball to get a large number of players because it still has to assemble a squad while the playoffs are ongoing.
Colangelo said: “Having a larger player pool than what we normally have is critical because of all of the uncertainties we face about availability. But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honor of representing your country means to these men.”
The coaches for the US Basketball Olympic team are, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich who is the head coach, Golden State coach Steve Kerr and former Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce among his assistants.
However, nine players from the unbeaten side that won Gold in Rio 2016 are candidates for Tokyo, they include; Durant, Irving, Jordan, Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Miami’s Jimmy Butler, San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers.
READ ALSO: Nigerian wins Kobe Bryant MVP awards
Anthony Davis, who is a teammate of James at the Lakers, Cleveland’s Kevin Love and Washington’s Russell Westbrook were all part of the 2012 US Olympic champions team while Philadelphia’s Dwight Howard was on the 2008 gold medal team. They are all among this year’s finalists.
Golden State star guard Stephen Curry, NBA scoring leader Bradley Beal of Washington, Utah’s Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell, Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Portland’s Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers are also in the 47 man list according to the Punch.
The full list consists of, Bam Adebayo (Miami), LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio), Devin Booker (Phoenix), Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana), Andre Drummond (Cleveland), Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Lakers), Tobias Harris (Philadelphia), Gordon Hayward (Charlotte), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans), Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers), Brook Lopez (Milwaukee), JaVale McGee (Cleveland), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee), Victor Oladipo (Houston), Mason Plumlee (Detroit), Myles Turner (Indiana), Kemba Walker (Boston) and Derrick White (San Antonio).