Team USA's men's basketball team will compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
The 2020 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team roster is beginning to take shape.
On Monday, USA Basketball released a star-studded list of the team’s 44 finalists, which includes LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets.
But the team is far from finished — players who made the list are under no obligation to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” Jerry Colangelo, the managing director of USA Basketball men’s national team, said in a statement.
“The commitment, desire and excitement of all of our athletes to represent their country is genuine and remarkable,” he added. “All of the finalists are exceptionally gifted athletes who offer us amazing versatility and depth, and the group of finalists features a range of players from those who are very experienced and accomplished in international basketball to players who will be future international stars.”
James, speaking after his Los Angeles Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns on Monday, said there are many factors he will consider before making his decision to play.
“My name is in the hat, and it’s always predicated on, one, my body, how my body’s feeling at the end of the season. I hope to make it a long playoff run,” James told reporters, according to Yahoo Sports.
“Then where my mind is, and then where my family’s head is. So there’s a lot of factors, but my name is in the hat,” he continued.
Anthony Davis, James’ teammate who was named as a finalist, also did not confirm if he would go to Tokyo.
But in September, Davis, 26, implied he would accept the invite if it was extended to him.
“I want to play USA Basketball,” he said. “If I get the opportunity to do so, they invite me, I definitely would love to do so. So, hopefully, guys are listening.”
Other notable players included on the list of finalists include James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard of the L.A. Clippers, Dwight Howard and Kyle Kuzma of the Lakers, and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets.
Kuzma, who has never competed in the Olympics before, expressed his excitement following the announcement.
“Blessed to just be a finalist. Growing up always wanting to play for the Olympic team. That was a goal of mine,” he told reporters of the honor. “Never really knew if it was going to happen or whatnot, but I have the opportunity to be on the team. It’s a blessing.”
Team USA will be coached by Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs. The final 12-man roster will be announced in early June, with training camp taking place the next month.