US Olympic Basketball Team Arrives at Camp in Las Vegas

US Olympic Basketball Team Arrives at Camp in Las Vegas

There's something Kobe Bryant once said that has stuck with U.S. Olympic men's basketball coach Steve Kerr and seems especially relevant now.

It was about how other countries were making great strides in basketball, how the gap between the rest of the world and the United States was closing, and how great this was for the NBA. Bryant's response, to paraphrase him, was basically, “So what?”

His argument is: If everyone is getting better, the United States should find ways to do the same.

“Maybe we can show that to the guys,” Kerr said. “I love it. And that should be our stance this summer.”

After months of planning, it’s time for the U.S. Olympic team, which will head to the Paris Games later this month in search of its fifth straight gold medal, to take the floor. The team’s first practice will be on Saturday, the start of a four-day training camp before its first exhibition game against Canada on Wednesday.

The players began arriving in Las Vegas on Thursday. Stephen Curry was the first to sign up for camp, perhaps highlighting how eager he is to compete in his first Olympics. The 12 players have known each other for years, but the task of becoming a team begins in earnest on Saturday.

“I feel like it all starts when the time comes, because we see each other face to face,” said Bam Adebayo, who is seeking his second gold medal after winning one at the Tokyo Games three years ago. “We have those conversations, we have a lot of conversations about what we’re going through, what we’re trying to do. And that’s the time to be really honest about what we want to do.

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This part is easy: win the gold medal.

How to do it, that's the key.

Last year, the United States suffered another World Cup humiliation: After finishing seventh in 2019, the Americans finished fourth in Manila. But the excuse (or justification, for lack of a better word) for those setbacks was that the U.S. wasn’t sending the best possible team to those tournaments. It’s one thing to get big names like Kevin Durant and LeBron James to the Olympics. It’s another thing to get them to the World Cup and have them represent their country in consecutive summers.

Oliver Walton

"Pro alcohol addict. Bacon scholar. Award-winning beer fan. Gamer. Social media expert. Zombie guru."

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