NBA

Lillard, Durant Headline Team USA Men’s Basketball Roster

Jun 28, 2021, 9:54 AM | Updated: 11:58 am
Damian Lillard (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)...
Damian Lillard (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

(Associated Press) – Experience mattered to USA Basketball when putting together a roster for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Americans formally revealed their roster Monday, one that will be third-oldest U.S. men’s team in Olympic history for the Tokyo Games. The 12-man list includes five players — Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, Jrue Holiday, Damian Lillard and Draymond Green — already in their 30s.

In addition to those five players, the U.S. also has gotten commitments from Bam Adebayo, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Jerami Grant, Zach LaVine, Khris Middleton and Jayson Tatum to play on the team. All those commitments became known in recent weeks; USA Basketball, which is seeking a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal, merely made it official Monday with the announcement.

“USA Basketball selects players to represent our country in international competition with the skills, character, experience, and desire to win,” said retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of USA Basketball’s Board of Directors. “We build teams that are versatile and resilient in the short, intense competitions we face. We’re fortunate that this group of elite athletes has volunteered to represent us in Tokyo this summer.”

Love is the oldest, at 32. Tatum, at 22, is the youngest. The average age — calculated by USA Basketball to be 28.2 at the end of the Tokyo Games if this roster doesn’t change — ranks behind only the 1996 team (29.4) and the original Dream Team in 1992 (29.0) as the oldest groups that the U.S. has sent to an Olympics.

Durant is on the Olympic team for the third time, making him the fourth U.S. player to have at least that many selections; Carmelo Anthony was on each of the last four teams, while LeBron James and David Robinson are the other three-time selections.

Durant was part of the gold-medal-winning squads in 2012 and 2016. Love was also on the 2012 team, Green was on the 2016 team. The other nine players on the U.S. roster will be appearing in the Olympics for the first time.

“I’m happy for the selected players and looking forward to having the opportunity to work with this wonderful group when practice gets underway on July 6 in Las Vegas,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. “I’m excited to represent the United States in our quest to earn a gold medal in Tokyo.”

Popovich will be assisted by Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce and Jay Wright. Jerry Colangelo is again the team’s managing director, serving in that role for the final time before Grant Hill assumes the job when these Olympics are complete.

“Our roster features players who are experienced in the international game, and this team has outstanding athleticism, versatility and balance,” Colangelo said. “We also believe we have excellent leadership which is a necessity in order to develop the needed chemistry. We still have a lot of challenges in front of us, but I believe these players will become a team that all Americans will be proud of.”

The team will be formally nominated to the Tokyo Games by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee next month.

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Lillard, Durant Headline Team USA Men’s Basketball Roster