Saturday, July 13, 2024

Olympics 2024: Meet the athletes with California ties on Team USA Basketball

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(Brian Babineau/Ned Dishman/Team USA )

The Men’s and Women’s USA basketball teams for the 2024 Paris Olympics are fully loaded with All-Star talent. The athletes hail from coast to coast, and from San Diego to the Bay Area and beyond, many of them have ties to the Golden State – whether they grew up here or currently play for a California team. 

Of course, California is an athletic powerhouse and some of the best athletes in every sport have California here. But here, we’re going to focus on hoops. 

The 12-member men’s team players were selected by the USA Men’s Basketball Team managing director, Grant Hill. As one of the most respected names in the sport, Hill is an Olympic gold medalist and spent 19 years playing in the NBA. The 2024 roster is bursting at the seams with skill, technique and athleticism, showcasing a combination of battle-tested veterans and the young and hungry future faces of the league.  

Below is the full roster for the 2024 USA Basketball Men’s 5 x 5 Olympic Team:

  • Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
  • Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
  • Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
  • Anthony Davis (LA Lakers)
  • Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns)
  • Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
  • Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers)
  • Jrue Holiday (Boston Celtics)
  • LeBron James (LA Lakers)
  • Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers)
  • Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)

In addition, the men’s national basketball team coaching staff is equally impressive as the roster. Two of the coaches for Team USA also have California ties. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr serves as the head coach of the program and LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is one of the assistant coaches, along with Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat) and Mark Few (Gonzaga University). 

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Meet the Athletes with a California Connection (5×5 USA Men’s Team)

Stephen Curry

California connection:

  • 4x NBA champion for the Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry (Brian Babineau)

Stephen Curry has roots all across the U.S. He was born in Akron, Ohio, like fellow NBA legend, LeBron James. He grew up in North Carolina, where he elevated his game at Davidson College. After three seasons, he was selected by the Golden State Warriors as the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Since then, as one of the faces of the league, he has fully embraced life in the Bay Area on and off the court. Curry is a four-time NBA champion and ten-time NBA All-Star. 

Anthony Davis

California connection:

Anthony Davis (Brian Babineau)

NBA superstar Anthony Davis has been playing for the Los Angeles Lakers since 2019. He’s one-half of one of the best duos in the league with LeBron James. The Chicago native attended the University of Kentucky and was then selected first overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans where he quickly became one of the best big men in the game. The nine-time All-Star, who won All-Star MVP in 2017, has previously won two other gold medals – the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2012 Olympic Games. Davis is also the eighth player in history to have won an NBA title, an NCAA championship, and an Olympic gold medal. 

Jrue Holiday

California ties:

  • Born and raised in Los Angeles
  • High school: Campbell Hall (Studio City)
  • College: UCLA

Jrue Holiday (Brian Babineau)

Jrue Holiday is coming to Paris after winning his second NBA championship. He won his first NBA title in 2021 with the Milwaukee Bucks and earned his second with the Boston Celtics last month. He is one of the three Holiday brothers, and his siblings Justin and Aaron also play in the NBA. The Holidays were born and raised in Southern California and attended Campbell Hall in Studio City. Jrue Holiday went to UCLA for a year before he was declared for the NBA Draft. In 2009, he was selected 17th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. 

LeBron James

California connection:

LeBron James (Team USA )

As the oldest active player in the NBA and on the Olympic roster, LeBron James continues to be a force on the court. James, along with Kevin Durant, will suit up for Team USA for the fourth time. 

While his roots are in Ohio, the NBA legend has been a Los Angeles Laker since 2019 and recently, he signed a two-year deal. Next season, he will begin his 22nd season in the league and has an extensive list of accolades to show for it. The four-time NBA champion and 20-time NBA All-Star won his first gold medal in 2001 at the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival. He won three others at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, as well as the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. As his time in the league nears its end, this will be his final Olympic run. 

Kawhi Leonard

California ties:

  • Born in Los Angeles
  • Raised in the Inland Empire
  • High schools: Canyon Springs (Riverside) and Martin Luther King (Moreno Valley)
  • College: San Diego State University

Kawhi Leonard (Team USA Basketball)

Kawhi Leonard is a two-time NBA Finals MVP who plays for the Los Angeles Clippers. He was born in Los Angeles before he moved to the Inland Empire. As a teenager, he became a standout at Martin Luther King High School in Moreno Valley. Leonard played for two seasons at San Diego State University before declaring for the 2011 NBA Draft, in which he was selected as the 15th overall pick. He won championships with the San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors and has since brought his talents back to his hometown. 

Meet the Athlete with a California Connection (3×3 USA Men’s Team)

Kareem Maddox

California ties:

  • Born in Los Angeles
  • High School: Oak Park

Kareem Maddox (USA Basketball)

Kareem Maddox’s Olympic profile describes him as “one of the most decorated American athletes in the discipline” in reference to the 3×3 game. While he may not be as commonly known as his fellow Team USA athletes, his resume proves he shines in the worldwide stage. He was born in Los Angeles and attended Oak Park High School and attended Princeton University for four seasons. He won gold medals at the 2023 Pan American Games, 2022 FIBA AmeriaCup, the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup, the 2019 Pan American Games and the 2019 FIBA World Cup – all on 3×3 teams. 

Meet the Athletes with a California Connection (5×5 USA Women’s Team)

The WNBA is exploding in popularity. The USA women’s basketball team athletes were selected by the USA Women’s National Team Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. 

Fans will be able to see the star-studded Olympic team take on the WNBA All-Stars during the 2024 WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix on Saturday, July 20. 

Full roster:

  • Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx)
  • Kahleah Cooper (Phoenix Mercury)
  • Chelsea Gray (Las Vegas Aces)
  • Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury)
  • Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty)
  • Jewell Lloyd (Seattle Storm)
  • Kesley Plum (Las Vegas Aces)
  • Breanna Stewart (New York Liberty)
  • Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
  • Alyssa Thomas (Connecticut Sun)
  • A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces)
  • Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces)

Meet the Athletes with a California Connection (5×5 USA Women’s Team)

Chelsea Gray

California ties:

  • Born in Hayward
  • Hometown: Manteca
  • High School: Saint Mary’s High School (Stockton)

Chelsea Gray was born in Manteca, a mid-sized city located between Stockton and Modesto.  Data from Team USA indicates she is 25-3 in a USA Basketball uniform and she has previously won gold medals at the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 FIBA World Cup. Gray has won three WNBA championships – two with her current team, the Las Vegas Aces, in which she won WNBA Finals MVP in 2022, and her first with the LA Sparks in 2016. Before going pro, she played four seasons at Duke University where she became the first player in the program to record two triple-doubles. 

Kelsey Plum

California ties:

  • Born in Poway
  • Raised in San Diego County
  • High school: La Jolla Country Day

Kelsey Plum (USA Basketball/Ned Dishman)

Kelsey Plum is another player for the Las Vegas Aces with California roots. Plum was born in Poway and attended La Jolla Country Day before she spent her college year at the University of Washington. She was the first overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft and was selected by the San Antonio Stars before they relocated to Sin City. It’s no surprise she has four gold medals under her belt – the 2013 FIBA U19 World Cup, the 2019 FIBA World Cup, the 2020 Olympic Games 3×3, and the 2022 FIBA World Cup. 

Sabrina Ionescu

California ties:

  • Hometown: Walnut Creek
  • High school: Miramonte

Sabrina Ionescu (USA Basketball/Ned Dishman)

Sabrina Ionescu is one of the most recognizable faces in the game. You’ve probably seen her highlights on social media or seen her face in a commercial, and the 26-year-old’s game is worth the hype. She was born in Walnut Creek and attended Miramonte High School in Orinda (Contra Costa County). Her popularity exploded during her four seasons at Oregon and in 2020, she was the first overall pick in the WNBA Draft. Like several of her Olympic teammates, her accolades include numerous gold medals, which she earned at the 2022 FIBA World Cup, the 2019 Pan American Games (3×3), the 2014 FIBA U17 World Cup, and the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship. 

Diana Taurasi

California ties:

  • Born and raised in Chino
  • High school: Don Antonio Lugo High School

Diana Taurasi (Ned Dishman)

If there was a Mt. Rushmore of the WNBA, Diana Taurasi would certainly be on it. Taurasi was born and raised in Chino and attended Don Antonio Lugo High School. She began gaining national attention while at the University of Connecticut, where she won three consecutive NCAA championships. At 42 years old, the 3-time WNBA champion isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The Phoenix Mercury superstar is no stranger to the Olympic Games and holds the record for most Olympic titles in US basketball history – having won gold medals at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016, and Tokyo 2020. 

Meet the Athlete with a California Connection (3×3 USA Women’s Team)

Dearica Hamby

California connection:

LA Sparks forward Dearica Hamby. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)

Dearica Hamby is having a stellar season with the LA Sparks. She was selected to the 3×3 team in late June after her teammate, Cameron Brink, suffered an injury earlier this season. The spot is rightfully hers as she’s been a dominant force on the court. She previously won a gold medal at the 2023 FIBA 3×3 AmeriCup. She was also on the 2023 USA Women’s National Team and the 2022 USA Women’s World Cup Qualifying Team. 

When can I see Team USA play?

You can get a first look at the 5×5 teams very soon. The men’s team plays an exhibition game against Team Canada on Wednesday, July 10 in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, the women’s team will take on the WNBA All-Stars at the 2024 WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix on Saturday, July 20. 

The Paris Olympic Games begin on July 26, 2024. 

FOX 11’s Joe Calabrese contributed to this report.

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