Sunday, July 14, 2024

Canada names Olympic men’s basketball roster with record 10 NBA players

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Canada’s first Olympic men’s basketball team since 2000 includes 10 active NBA players, a record for any nation other than the U.S.

The team is headlined by a backcourt tandem: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, an All-NBA First Teamer for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Jamal Murray, the point guard for the 2023 NBA champion Denver Nuggets.

The other NBA players are Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Minnesota Timberwolves), R.J. Barrett (Toronto Raptors), Dillon Brooks (Houston Rockets), Luguentz Dort (Thunder), Trey Lyles (Sacramento Kings), Andrew Nembhard (Indiana Pacers), Kelly Olynyk (Raptors) and Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks).

Khem Birch and Melvin Ejim, who each play professionally in Spain, are also on the team.

Canada will break the record for most NBA players on a non-American Olympic roster held by Nigeria, which had eight NBA players at the Tokyo Games.

Two high-profile Canadians aren’t on the team.

Andrew Wiggins, a 2022 NBA All-Star with the Golden State Warriors, reportedly withdrew from consideration in a decision that involved the Warriors.

Zach Edey, the NCAA Player of the Year at Purdue, chose to prioritize preparing for his NBA rookie season with the Memphis Grizzlies rather than pursue an Olympic spot.

Canada last qualified for the Olympics in 2000, when its roster had two NBA players: future MVP Steve Nash and center Todd MacCulloch.

Last September, a Canadian team led by Gilgeous-Alexander beat the U.S. in the FIBA World Cup bronze-medal game. It marked Canada’s first global medal in men’s basketball since taking silver in the first Olympic basketball tournament in 1936.

Canada opens the Paris Olympic tournament on July 27 in Lille against Greece, whose roster will be headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo.

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