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LeBron, Curry, Durant head US Olympic 'Dream team'

Published April 17,2024

LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will spearhead a star-studded United States Olympic basketball squad chasing a fifth straight gold medal at this summer's Paris Games, officials announced Wednesday.

USA Basketball confirmed a formidable 12-man roster bristling with NBA talent that also includes reigning Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid along with Boston Celtics standouts Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday.

Los Angeles Lakers star James, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, will be competing in his fourth Olympics after appearances at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games.

Golden State star Curry -- whose season came to an end on Tuesday when the Warriors were eliminated from the NBA play-in tournament -- will be playing in his first Olympics.

Other star names in a squad which contains 12 NBA All-Stars, four NBA MVPs and six NBA champions include Phoenix's Devin Booker, the Lakers' Anthony Davis, Minnesota's Anthony Edwards and the Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard.

Miami's Bam Adebayo and Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton are also named.

"We're just grateful for this incredible collection of players, people who well understand what's at stake, all committed to being part of this incredible journey," USA Basketball men's national team managing director Grant Hill said on a Zoom press conference discussing the selection.

"We look forward to getting together and certainly pursuing a gold medal, which is ultimately the gold standard in which we're measuring."

While the United States has dominated recent Olympics, they were relegated to fourth at last year's FIBA World Cup.

Grant said that stinging disappointment highlighted a need for top quality defense and the selection of Embiid, Davis and Adebayo gives the squad an imposing physical presence.

"You know, we weren't as good as we could be defensively," Hill said. "I thought the physicality of the FIBA game gave us trouble.

"So size and experience and certainly more of a defensive identity" were at the forefront in selectors' minds.

"We have the utmost respect for the level of competition we will face this summer," Hill said.

"The Olympics represent the pinnacle of sport and the world will be watching the USA as we play in the toughest basketball tournament in history."

Why wait?

Embiid and Leonard will be making their US national team debuts when the squad plays in a pre-Olympic game against Canada in Las Vegas on July 10.

Embiid was born in Cameroon but also has US and French citizenship. He announced earlier this year he would play for the United States, Hill saying he had "cultivated a relationship without being overbearing" after learning the Sixers' star big man would be eligible to play for the USA.

"He was never committed either way," Hill said. "He was very thoughtful. And we're just ecstatic that he's with us and we look forward to having someone like him. We haven't had a center big guy like that in quite some time."

Golden State's Steve Kerr has been named head coach, with assistants including Miami's Erik Spoelstra, the Clippers' Tyronn Lue and Gonzaga University's Mark Few.

Hill said no one approached by USA Basketball turned down an invitation.

Although they had no formal plan to make the announcement on the day that the 100-day countdown to the Paris opening ceremony began, Hill said there was no point in delaying, even though some players are just gearing up for the NBA playoffs that start on Saturday.

"We knew this was the team that we wanted and we also know that there'll be a lot of interest and a lot of people who will want to be along for this incredible journey we're about to be on," he said.

"So if we know, why wait."