Monday, July 22, 2024

Kamala Harris attends Team USA men’s basketball practice

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LAS VEGAS — Vice President Kamala Harris met with Team USA on Tuesday, telling the 12 American star players and famous coaching staff they demonstrated their patriotism by pursuing a fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal in men’s basketball.

“Win the gold. Short, sweet and to the point,” said Team USA center Bam Adebayo, summarizing the vice president’s message.

“A great reminder of the fact that we’re playing for our country,” added Team USA coach Steve Kerr, who has met Harris, an Oakland, Calif., native, several times. “I think the guys really listened to every word. It was great.”

Harris, in the state of Nevada to make a campaign appearance and speech Tuesday, strode across the court at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas following the Americans’ final practice in preparation for Wednesday’s exhibition game against Canada — the first 2024 Olympics tune-up for both countries.

The entire team, coaching staff and large USA Basketball support staff gathered around the vice president for a short speech, which was out of earshot of reporters, and then posed for pictures.

Harris is a noted Golden State Warriors fan, where Kerr coaches in the NBA and Stephen Curry stars. She was present when the Warriors visited the White House in celebration of their 2022 NBA championship, and on Tuesday posed privately for a picture with Kerr and chatted with Curry after her speech.

Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, is also a noted NBA fan, though he roots for the Los Angeles Lakers (LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Lakers are on Team USA this summer).

“Pretty special moment for the entire group,” said Erik Spoelstra, an assistant coach with Team USA. “She just mentioned that we represent our country and everybody is going to be watching and rooting for us. It’s a big responsibility.”

Adebayo, who was on the Olympic team three years ago in Tokyo, when strict protocols were still in place due to COVID-19, said that the group of gold medalists didn’t get to meet Harris (or President Joe Biden, for that matter), due to the pandemic.

“So having her here, being able to speak to us was a dope moment and I’ll be able to tell my kids’ kids’ kids about that,” Adebayo said.

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(Photo: Michael DeMocker / Getty Images)

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