The men’s player pool for the Olympics in Paris, which was revealed by USA Basketball on Tuesday, features many well-known players, including LeBron James, Joel Embiid, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant.
Maybe it was who was missing that was unexpected.
The 41 names announced by USA Basketball as potential members of the team that will compete in Paris this summer in an attempt to win a fifth consecutive gold medal did not include Draymond Green, who assisted the United States in winning gold at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016 and then another title at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
The pool’s official naming ceremony marks the start of the 12-player Olympic roster construction process. The team will be led by Steve Kerr of Golden State, with Erik Spoelstra of Miami, Tyronn Lue of the Los Angeles Clippers, and Mark Few of Gonzaga serving as assistant coaches. This spring, the teams will be decided upon, and a lot of those choices will probably depend on the health of the players and how far each team advances in the NBA playoffs.
The men’s national team managing director Grant Hill said, “I am thrilled that many of the game’s superstars have expressed interest in representing our country at the 2024 Olympic Summer Games. The United States has unbelievable basketball talent.” “Choosing the group that will move us closer to our objective of taking the top spot on the Olympic podium once more is an honor.” eagerly await the commencement of national team activity, and over the next few months, this difficult process will play out.
Thirteen players are in the pool, which is subject to change. Durant leads the group with three gold medals, James and Chris Paul have two each, and Anthony Davis, Bam Adebayo, Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, James Harden, Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Jrue Holiday, Kyrie Irving, and Paul George have one apiece.
The United States would win, and Durant would become the first men’s basketball player to win four gold medals.
Durant declared emphatically last fall during Phoenix’s media day, “I will play in the Olympics.”
Leading the list of the remaining 28 players are two who could be competing in their first Olympics: Curry and Embiid. While again, nothing is official until after their NBA seasons conclude, both stated last year that they would like to be on the American squad headed to Paris.
Curry said last fall, “I definitely want to be there.” “I’d like to be on the team, for sure.”
With dual citizenship, Embiid could have chosen to play for France or, if eligible, his birthplace of Cameroon. Embiid, the reigning NBA MVP, two-time scoring champion, and star player for Philadelphia, scored 70 points on Monday night. Instead, last fall, he decided to play for the United States.
The 76ers coach Nick Nurse said, “When he gets motivated… anything can happen.”
Additionally selected for the pool were Jarrett Allen, Paolo Banchero, Desmond Bane, Scottie Barnes, Mikal Bridges, Jaylen Brown, Jalen Brunson, Alex Caruso, Anthony Edwards, De’Aaron Fox, Aaron Gordon, Tyrese Haliburton, Josh Hart, Tyler Herro, Chet Holmgren, Brandon Ingram, Jaren Jackson Jr., Cam Johnson, Walker Kessler, Kawhi Leonard, Donovan Mitchell, Bobby Portis, Austin Reaves, Duncan Robinson, Derrick White, and Trae Young.
“We get to travel to Paris. Adebayo, who won his first gold in 2021 and is anticipated to be on the 2024 squad, said, “We get to go do something special.” “As I think about it, I get excited because I get to do something special twice.”
Green had shown some interest in joining the team headed to Paris the previous year.
However, the Golden State forward’s initial indefinite suspension for striking Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkić in the face caused him to miss 16 games between mid-December and mid-January. Prior to being given his job back, Green claimed he thought about retiring and went to counseling.
It’s not impossible for players who aren’t in the pool to make the Olympic squad—it has happened before, though it’s unlikely. Although Keldon Johnson of San Antonio was not included in the pool of 57 players announced by USA Basketball in March 2021, he was eventually chosen for the Tokyo Games squad and won a gold medal under Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
Still, Johnson was in that situation only because of a unique combination of events.
He was part of the U.S. Select Team, which trained with the Olympic team in order to help it get ready for the Tokyo Games. Because some players were still competing in the NBA Finals, he was promoted to the national team. He was then added to the Olympic roster, along with JaVale McGee, when Kevin Love and Bradley Beal, who had both been selected for the team, had to withdraw late in the process.