Monday, May 20, 2024

USA Basketball fills the 12 available slots for the Paris Olympics roster, AP sources say

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LeBron James plans to go back to the Olympics. Stephen Curry is planning on going for the first time. Kevin Durant will go there with his eye on history.

And they’re just part of a star-studded roster the Americans have assembled for the Paris Games.

USA Basketball has gotten confirmations from 12 players — James, Curry, Durant, Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Edwards and Kawhi Leonard — that they will accept invitations to be on the Olympic roster, three people with knowledge of the decisions said. That group includes seven previous gold medalists.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because it was believed USA Basketball was planning to release the names on Wednesday. Leonard — a finalist for each of the last two Olympic teams — was the last piece of the roster puzzle to be finalized, one of the people said.

The amount of talent on the U.S. roster is staggering. Of the 12 commits, seven finished the season ranked among the NBA’s top 15 scorers per game. James is the league’s all-time scoring leader, Curry the all-time leader in 3-pointers, Haliburton won the assist-per-game title this season and 10 were All-Stars this season as well.

Players around the NBA have been told of the decisions USA Basketball made over the past several days, one of the people said. USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill has led the task of assembling the roster for the past several months, and the plan all along was to put together the team well in advance of training camp starting at Las Vegas in early July. Tryouts were never part of the plan for this team.

Durant has said since last year that he plans to play, which means he will pursue becoming the first men’s player in Olympic history with four basketball gold medals. He and Carmelo Anthony are the only men’s players with three Olympic golds; there are six women, all American, with at least four Olympic basketball golds. Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi each have five, while Teresa Edwards, Tamika Catchings, Sylvia Fowles and Lisa Leslie each won four.

James will seek a fourth medal, after winning bronze in 2004 and golds in 2008 and 2012. The other past gold medalists on the roster are Davis (2012), Adebayo (2020), Booker (2020), Tatum (2020) and Holiday (2020). The 2020 gold medals were won in 2021, since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a one-year delay of the Tokyo Games.

Curry will play in the Olympics for the first time, as will Embiid — who chose to play for the U.S. last year after becoming an American citizen. The Cameroon-born center also could have chosen to represent France at the Paris Games.

The other first-time Olympians on the current roster are Haliburton and Edwards, both of whom played for the U.S. team that finished fourth at the World Cup in Manila last year.

Many of the commitments are not surprises: Durant and Curry said in October that they wanted to play this summer, Adebayo said then that he had already committed to the team, and it’s been assumed for some time that if players like James want to play, then all they have to do is say so.

The U.S. men have competed in basketball at the Olympics 19 times, winning 19 medals — 16 gold, one silver and two bronze.

The Paris team will be coached by Steve Kerr, assisted by Erik Spoelstra, Tyronn Lue and Mark Few. It’s still possible that the roster changes before the summer, if injuries or deep runs in the NBA playoffs force players to change their minds about committing to the national team.

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

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