USA beef up the list of finalists for Tokyo Olympics

Team USA announced 57 players as finalists for the team that will play at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

In addition to the 42 NBA players previously selected, USA Basketball has added 15 to their list, including second-year star Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans, the top pick in the 2019 draft, and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, the fifth pick in the 2018 draft.

Williamson has not represented the United States at any level while Young helped the Americans reach the top of the podium at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship 2016 in Valdivia, Chile.

The other 13 players added to the squad are Jarrett Allen, Eric Gordon, Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin, Jrue Holiday, DeAndre Jordan, Zach LaVine, Julius Randle, Duncan Robinson, Mitchell Robinson, Fred VanVleet, John Wall, and Christian Wood.

Team USA

Gordon was a key player in the Team USA that won the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2010 in Istanbul, Turkey, and Jordan logged big minutes for the Americans to capture the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Among the players named USA finalists at the beginning of 2020 were two-time Olympic champions LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Kevin Durant, as well as Stephen Curry, a World Cup winner in 2010 and 2014 who has yet to play at the Olympics.

The Tokyo Games were supposed to be staged in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic led to the postponement of the event until this year. 

“With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it’s important that we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible. These additions we are announcing today will help ensure that we are doing that,” said Jerry Colangelo, the managing director of Team USA.

“Having a larger player pool than what we normally have is critical because of all of the uncertainties we face about availability. But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honor of representing your country means to these men.”

Eleven of the 12 players representing the United States at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China were named on the initial 42-man list, including Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker,  Khris Middleton, and Myles Turner.

Kawhi Leonard, a two-time NBA champion who has been a part of the USA Basketball set-up for the past decade but has not played at a tournament, spoke after the recent NBA All-Star Game about his intention of competing in Tokyo.

Team USA will take on France, Iran, and the winners of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament – Victoria, Canada in Group A of the Men’s Olympic Basketball Tournament, which tips off on July 25 and concludes on August 7.

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