With the rigid COVID-19 regulations set for this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, joining the Team USA roster was a tough ask for NBA players who just battled through an unprecedented season of their own.
Athletes at this year’s event will be confined to housing areas when they aren’t practicing or playing, unable to spend time with friends or family and prohibited from participating in any kind of nightlife of social events.
But, despite all of these drawbacks, Team USA is set with a loaded roster of NBA All Stars.
With similar restrictions as Orlando bubble there were a lot of reasons for players to skip Tokyo Olympics. But Team USA ended up filled with stars. Here’s how it came together: https://t.co/OnCeyCSEGh
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 26, 2021
As two of the earliest commits to this year’s roster, Lillard and Durant set the tone for who was to follow.
“When we talk to players about committing to the team, one of the things they always want to know is who else is committed,” Colangelo said, per ESPN. “Lillard was one of the first and it was crucial.”
Despite getting cut from the Team USA’s World Cup roster in 2014 and bowing out of 2016 Olympics, Lillard seems committed to the program in 2021.
Durant has long been a staple of the Team USA brand, joining the team in 2010 and winning Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016.
“I met Kevin in 2007 at the Final Four after his freshman year at Texas and I told him I wanted him to come to our training camp that summer,” Colangelo said, per ESPN. “He was wide-eyed then about the opportunity. And all these years later and everything he’s accomplished, he’s never lost that great love to play with us. He’s had a lot of great success with USA Basketball, and I think playing in Tokyo was something he really wanted.”
Lillard and Durant reportedly worked closely with Colangelo and head coach Gregg Popovich in recruiting efforts and consulting on how to build this year’s roster.
Here’s the full list of players headed to Tokyo this summer with Team USA:
- Kevin Durant
- Damian Lillard
- Bradley Beal
- Jayson Tatum
- Devin Booker
- Zach LaVine
- Kevin Love
- Bam Adebayo
- Draymond Green
- Jrue Holiday
- Khris Middleton
- Jerami Grant
Training camp will begin on July, 6 in Las Vegas.