Monday, May 27, 2024

Mavs’ Kyrie Irving Speaks on Team USA Olympic Roster Exclusion, Focuses on NBA Title Run

Must read

DALLAS — Despite winning two gold medals with Team USA, once at the 2014 FIBA World Cup and again at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Dallas Mavericks superstar Kyrie Irving was not selected among the 12-man roster for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The finalized roster for Team USA includes Anthony Davis, Anthony Edwards, Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, Jrue Holiday, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Tyrese Haliburton.


Apr 9, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) defends

On Tuesday, Irving expressed his desire to join Team USA, having been selected. Still, he recognized the need to concentrate on his primary goal—winning an NBA championship with the Mavericks.

“I would’ve loved to, but I wish my brothers well, and I just didn’t fit into this team,” Irving stated, reflecting on the selection process. “It was a tough deliberation, but I have nothing but respect for those at USAB. My focus should be on winning the championship and supporting the guys this summer when I get the chance.”

Reflecting on the roster selection process, Irving reminisced about his earlier experiences with the national team, explaining how there was more of a tryout process involved before finalizing the roster. However, he remains supportive of USA Basketball despite not being included on this cycle’s roster.

“I grew up in a time when we actually had to try out for USAB,” Irving said. “We did meet up as a group and as peers and there was a mutual respect that we earned from one another in trying out and seeing what five meshed well.

“Obviously, I think the timing is a little different but I kind of miss those days of just being able to get everybody together, break bread, and then compete against one another, and then the deliberation process happens. … I miss that fun part of just getting together, but I wish my brothers well.”

Team USA is coming off a disappointing 2023 FIBA World Cup by failing to secure a medal. Much of the roster set to compete at the Paris Olympics is different from the group that came up short in Manila, Philippines during the World Cup.

As Irving pivots to focus on his NBA career with the Mavericks, his support for his Team USA colleagues remains strong. This echoes a sentiment of camaraderie and collective pursuit of excellence in the sport.

Irving’s career with USA Basketball has been marked by a series of significant achievements, showcasing his pivotal role in various international competitions. Irving first demonstrated his potential on the international stage in 2010 as a key player for the USA U18 team.

He played a central role in securing the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, leading the team in scoring and assists. His performance highlighted his ability to deliver in crucial moments, including scoring a team-high 21 points in the gold medal victory over Brazil.

Irving’s international success continued to blossom with the USA Men’s National Team, culminating in his standout performance at the 2014 FIBA World Cup. He not only led the team to a perfect 9-0 record but also captured the Most Valuable Player award and a place on the All-Tournament Team.

His remarkable scoring, including 26 points in the gold medal game against Serbia, solidified his reputation as a clutch performer on the world stage. Following his World Cup exploits, Irving was honored as the 2014 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.

The pinnacle of Irving’s international career came in 2016 at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. As a USA Men’s National Team member, he started all eight games and was a crucial contributor to the team’s gold medal triumph.

Irving’s leadership was evident as he led the team in assists, averaging 4.9 per game, and helped maintain an unbeaten record throughout the tournament. His ability to perform under pressure and his dedication to team success have been hallmarks of his tenure with USA Basketball, underpinning his legacy as one of the sport’s outstanding international competitors.

The Mavericks will play Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the LA Clippers on Sunday, Apr. 21, marking Irving’s next chance to guide his team to postseason success.

Latest article