The United States national basketball team didn’t do too well at the Basketball World Cup that ended a little more than a month ago in China. USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo was a bit cross with some of the biggest stars of the NBA who backed out of playing at the World Cup. The result was far from ideal: despite doing well in the Group Stage, the team consisting of Brook Lopez, Derrick White, Donovan Mitchell, Harrison Barnes, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Joe Harris, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, Marcus Smart, Mason Plumlee, and Myles Turner lost to teams like Poland and Serbia. Ultimately, the tournament’s gold medal was taken home by Spain, followed by Argentina, and France – while the US came seventh, outperformed by Argentina, Serbia, and the Czech Republic.
While the NBA season has just started, and next summer is far away, it may seem early to speculate on which players will represent the US at the 2020 Summer Olympics hosted by Tokyo. Still, considering that the US’ 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup performance ensured it a place among the teams qualified for the tournament, let’s take a look at what players have already expressed their enthusiasm for representing their nation in Japan.
At his introductory conference, the Heat’s Stephen Curry expressed his interest in joining USA Basketball for next year’s Summer Olympics. He is experienced in playing internationally, having represented the US at the 2010 Summer Olympics in 2016. “That is the plan, for sure,” he told ESPN. “You know, obviously knock on wood, you don’t want any injuries or things like that to interfere”. The Lakers’ Anthony Davis was also enthusiastic, saying that he would gladly join USA Basketball should he be invited. The Warriors’ Draymond Green has even told the reporters that he has planned his wedding around the event, so he was definitely interested to go. The Rockets’ James Harden, the Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard have also given the nod to potentially participating in the event.
Paul George from the Clippers is more reserved when it comes to representing the US in the Summer Olympics. “I would love to. Hopefully, god willing, I can get through a season healthy. And when that time comes, I would love to be part of the Olympics and represent,” he told the ESPN while making it clear that at the moment, the upcoming NBA season is his priority. Kawhi Leonard said he would love to play but he prefers to take things one step at a time. “I do want to play but I’m taking it one step at a time. And right now it is getting the Clippers to the Finals,” he said. LeBron James was also on the cautious side when speaking about the Olympics: “I don’t know. I would love to. … I will address that at some point,” he said.
The 2020 Summer Olympics
The 2020 Summer Olympics, hosted by Tokyo, Japan, will begin on the 24th of June and will last until the 9th of August next year. Aside from the usual disciplines, it will introduce new ones, like freestyle BMX, Madison cyclin, and 3×3 basketball. There will be a total of 339 events in 33 sports and more than 11,000 athletes from all over the world are expected to compete.
The Olympic torch will begin its journey on March 12 in Olympia, Greece, then travel to Athens. The Japanese leg of its journey will begin in Fukushima, then take it across all 47 Japanese prefecture capitals, ending its long road at the New National Stadium in Tokyo for the opening ceremony.