Team USA basketball will begin their quest at a four-peat in this year’s 2020 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan.
LeBron James, Stephen Curry and James Harden headline the 44 finalists for the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team. It’s USA Basketball’s largest player pool for 12 roster spots since it began naming finalists in 2008.
Five-time NBA champion and longtime San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will be at the helm of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team this summer.
"Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we'll continue to monitor all of the athletes," said managing director of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo. "Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics."
Every four years, the Federation International Basketball Association (FIBA), holds a World Cup Tournament in which teams earn their qualifications for the Olympics. This tournament is always the summer before the Olympics.
Despite finishing seventh overall in last summer’s FIBA tournament, Team USA has already qualified for the Olympics by virtue of being one of the top two finishers from the Americas region at the World Cup.
The 2019 FIBA World Cup did not go according to plan due to many elite players pulling out of the competition, fearing injury as well as wanting to prepare mentally and physically for the following NBA season.
USA Basketball hasn't lost a game at the Olympics since the 2004 Games, where the team finished with a bronze medal. That bronze medal served as a turning point for USA Basketball, in which Jerry Colangelo, Team USA’s managing director, took over the program and made numerous changes.
Still calling all the shots for Team USA Basketball, Colangelo has an overall international record of 97-4 with three gold medals, seeking a fourth this summer.
To Colangelo, longevity and participation play a large role in receiving an invitation to play for the prestigious squad. Of those receiving invites, the 44-man pool includes 19 players who have won a total of 31 gold medals in either Olympic or World Cup competition for the Americans — including nine players who captured the Olympic title for USA Basketball in Rio de Janeiro four years ago.
NBA talent gets deeper and deeper each year; therefore, it is important to have a wide range of different athletes to keep on the radar. In that, Colangelo stated, “The reason we have this big roster is a lot of things happen, a lot of variables,” Colangelo said. “And what’s to say what’s going to happen from an injury standpoint between now and June. We don’t know. So, we have the rest of the season to monitor, to watch. But when we select our 12, they will be 12 who are absolutely in with all fours.”
With Colangelo and Popovich’s brains alongside the physical talent of LeBron James, Stephen Curry and James Harden, it appears as though Team USA will be a force to be reckoned with.