Monday, May 20, 2024

Shock as superstar left out of gun USA team

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Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving said he “just didn’t fit” into the 12-man basketball roster selected to represent Team USA at the upcoming Olympic Games.

Irving has twice enjoyed success with USA Basketball (USAB) – winning gold at the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the Rio 2016 Olympics – and had outlined his desire to once again be part of an Olympic roster.

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However, Irving was left off the roster as selectors opted for first-time Olympian Steph Curry, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton at the guard positions.

The USA is looking for redemption of sorts after a disappointing FIBA World Cup last year in which the team finished without a medal. Only Haliburton and Edwards remain from that squad.

“I wish my brothers well. I just didn’t fit into this team,” he told reporters after Mavericks practice on Thursday. “The deliberation process was a tough one. But again, I have nothing but respect for those guys over at USAB.

“At this point in my career, I think my focus should be on winning a championship and in the summertime just going to support those guys when I get a chance.”

Irving then began reminiscing about the old selection format for the national team, which he said included the group of players competing against each other in practices and scrimmages before the roster decisions were made.

This year’s announcement process was certainly different, with USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill traveling across the country to personally deliver the Team USA jerseys to each player that was selected.

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

“I think obviously the timing is a little bit different, but I kinda miss those days of just being able to get everybody together, break bread and then compete against one another. Then the deliberation process happens at the end of the four- or five-day process, even though people know who’s going to be on the team.

“I miss that fun part of it, just getting together, but I wish my brothers well.”

The US team will hold a training camp and exhibition games in Las Vegas beginning on July 5, before traveling to Paris.

The Opening Ceremony for the 2024 Paris Olympics will take place on July 26 with men’s basketball play beginning the following day.

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